(CBS News) – Just hours after a U.S. airstrike killed the top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week, “World War III” memes started spreading across social media. While some joked about getting drafted, others feared the possibility of entering war — and new fraudulent text messages about a draft increased those worries.
The U.S. Army said fake texts messages, which appear to be official requests from the military to enter the draft, are not real at all. On Wednesday, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) set the record straight on Twitter.
“Fact check: The U.S. Army is NOT contacting anyone regarding the draft. If you are receiving texts, phone calls or direct messages about a military draft, they are not official communications from the U.S. Army,” U.S. Army CGSC tweeted, sharing two screenshots of the fake texts.
The Twitter account for U.S. Army Recruiting also shared the warning about the fraudulent texts.
One of the texts stated the “United States Official Army Draft” had contacted the recipient through the mail several times — they had been “marked eligible” to serve and must report to the nearest military branch.
With escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran, the messages stoked fear in some of the people who received the messages. At this time, however, there is no reason to worry about being drafted.
Some feared their student loan applications through Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) could play into their potential future military service. Concerns over an active draft and FAFSA’s role in the service even shut down the Selective Service System’s website because of the sudden surge in traffic last week.
However, the Selective Service System said on Twitter there’s no reason for panic, assuring Twitter users that there is no active draft and that the department is conducting business as usual. The government, they said, “would need to pass official legislation to authorize a draft.”
The conflict between the U.S. and Iran continued on Tuesday, when Iran launched missile strikes against two Iraqi military bases that house U.S. forces in retaliation for the airstrike that killed Soleimani. More than a dozen ballistic missiles targeted the Al Asad and Erbil bases, the Pentagon said.
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