“Fake” emergency exercise calls turn out to be real

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Phone calls with an automated message saying “Exercise, Exercise, Exercise. Inbound ballistic missile.” were originally deemed as fake prank calls by the Guam Homeland Security. However, they were reclassified as real calls.

Guam – At first GHS/OCD and the Marianas Regional Fusion Center determined the calls to be coming from a spam or spoof number. However, after further research with the Joint Region Marianas it was determined that the JRM regional operations center did conduct a test of their internal mass notification system. The test was part of routine exercises meant to maintain a high level of readiness. According to the Joint Region Marianas they intended to send the message to only a limited amount of “internal JRM audience” but they accidentally triggered an external mass notification. Do not block this number (866) 609-7026 from either your cellphone or landline. It is a legitimate toll-free number used to notify residents of emergencies.

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For Immediate Release
September 1, 2017

Emergency Management Notification System Tested

The Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense (GHS/OCD) released information this morning regarding what was perceived as fake calls from the toll free number, (866) 609-8026, announcing an automated message stating “Exercise, exercise, exercise. Inbound ballistic missile.”

Immediately GHS/OCD along with the Mariana Regional Fusion Center (MRFC), researched the number and found it attributed to “spam” or a “spoof” number.

Further research with our partners in Joint Region Marianas (JRM) revealed that the JRM Regional Operations Center did conduct a test of their internal mass notification system as part of a routine emergency management exercise designed to maintain a high level of readiness to respond to threats. The exercise was generated from a legitimate toll-free number that manages JRM mass notifications. According to JRM, the intent was to send the message to a limited internal JRM audience, but inadvertently triggered the external mass notification function. They further recommend the number not be blocked on mobile or landline phones.