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Verizon customers received Amber Alert message - abc27 WHTM

Verizon customers received Amber Alert message

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Many—but not all—cellphone users received an Amber Alert Monday night about the 5-year-old girl that was abducted from her school in Philadelphia.

"My husband and I both got it and we have Verizon," said Melissa Ward of New Cumberland. "My phone just beeps and tells me there is an Amber Alert, and then I can view the information."

But Baneo Spriggs of Harrisburg didn't get the alert.

"I saw it all over Facebook, and a couple of friends sent me text messages, but I personally didn't get it."

CTIA – The Wireless Association says that wireless emergency alerts started in April of 2012. They are automated, and the cellphone provider has no control over what is in the message.  

According to Verizon Wireless, the Amber Alert sent out Monday night was issued by the Philadelphia Police Department and was sent out to cell phone users in a targeted area.

To get the alerts you must have an updated phone, and you must make sure the alerts are turned on.

"Having children of my own, I think it's a great thing," Ward said of the wireless alerts. 

Spriggs agrees.

"It's a good thing more than bad. It gets it out there and gets people looking as soon as possible, because seconds matter when we are dealing with children and their safety."

Cellphones can receive three types of alerts: presidential alerts, alerts issued by the president about national security; imminent threat alerts, which mostly deal with severe weather; and Amber Alerts. Presidential alerts are mandatory and can not be turned off.

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