And no, you’re not going to jail if you don’t respond
No one’s being drafted for World War III — yet. And if you received a text saying that you were drafted, the United States Army wants you to know that the message is fake.
On Tuesday, the Army put out a news bulletin alerting the public of fraudulent text messages from people claiming to be recruiters. Some texts tell the person receiving them to head to their local recruiting office for “immediate departure to Iran.” Others expand on that message, saying that if the person doesn’t respond, they’ll “be fined and sent to jail for minimum 6 years.”
“U.S. Army Recruiting Command has received multiple calls and emails about these fake text messages and wants to ensure Americans understand these texts are false and were not initiated by this command or the U.S. Army,” the bulletin said.
Luckily, if you’re of draft age, there’s no need to worry just yet. Even if tensions are high among young people after US forces killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week, the text messages are fake. Congress and the president would need to approve a draft before it could take place, the Army said in its bulletin.
The Selected Service System, which would organize any future draft, also warned of scam websites on Monday that charge people to sign up for service. “You will not be registered and your personal information may be at risk,” the agency said in a tweet.
In fact, shortly after the US government confirmed that Soleimani was dead, the Selective Service website went down, likely due to a renewed curiosity in the draft age and other requirements among young people who were afraid they were headed to war. (As of this writing, it was back up.)
The Army isn’t sure just yet who is sending the messages or how they’re doing it. “Army security personnel are looking into the origin of the messages,” an Army spokesperson told The Verge.