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Officials say text message about gang initiation is a hoax
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If you get a text message warning you about a gang initiation at Wal-Mart tonight, delete it. It is a hoax.

The text message, which has reportedly circulated nationwide, warns of a gang initiation to shoot multiple people and urges recipients to forward the message to all girls. Hall County Sheriff's Office Col. Jeff Strickland said the agency received multiple reports of the text message Thursday.

"We don't believe there's any merit to it," Strickland said.

As a precaution, Strickland said the sheriff's office is stepping up patrols across the county in response to the rumor.

Hall County authorities first started hearing reports of the rumor this morning, Strickland said. Multiple reports prompted the sheriff's office to contact the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center, and found that the rumor had circulated through several other states.

Other news agencies report the text message circulated throughout Delaware, Maryland and Texas.

"It's our understanding from what we know that it's been almost a nationwide ... hoax through the internet," Strickland said.

The sheriff's office took precautionary measures anyway, and increased "awareness" around Wal-Marts across the county, Strickland said.