AMBER Alert FAQs
What is an AMBER Alert™?
An AMBER Alert is a notification of an abducted child issued by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and distributed through authorized channels including broadcasters and wireless service providers.Back to top
What is the Wireless AMBER Alerts Initiative?
The Wireless AMBER Alerts Initiative is a voluntary arrangement among the wireless industry, law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to distribute Wireless AMBER Alerts to subscribers. Subscribers must have a device capable of receiving text messages and must choose to receive Wireless AMBER Alerts.Back to top
Iím a Verizon Wireless customer. Will I receive AMBER Alerts™ automatically?
No. You have to sign up or opt-in to receive Wireless AMBER Alerts™ and have a phone or other device that is capable of receiving text messages.Back to top
Is Verizon Wireless the only service provider offering Wireless AMBER Alerts™?
This is an industry-wide initiative and Verizon Wireless is pleased and proud to participate.Back to top
Is there a charge for Wireless AMBER Alerts™?
No. Wireless AMBER Alerts are free to customers.Back to top
How does a Verizon Wireless customer opt-in for Wireless AMBER Alerts™?
Customers can opt-in by going to www.verizonwireless.com, and choosing "Send TXT messages" from the Get It Now® drop-down menu, or by logging directly into www.vtext.com, Verizon Wirelessí TXT Messaging site.Back to top
At www.vtext.com, customers sign in with their mobile number and password. Once there, customers go to the "Alerts" page, and choose the "News and Tech" category. The Wireless AMBER Alerts icon will appear on that page, and when customers click on that, they will be prompted to enter the zip code for which they want to receive the Wireless AMBER Alert.
Verizon Wireless customers may also go to the Wireless Amber Alerts website (a website managed by CTIA). Once there, the customer will be asked for his or her telephone number, and after entering it, the Alerts page of www.vtext.com will come up on the screen, and the customer will follow the same instructions as above.
If I opt-in for Wireless AMBER Alerts™, will I receive every AMBER Alert issued?
No. During the opt-in process, customers will be asked to designate the zip codes for which they want to receive the Wireless AMBER Alert.Back to top
Note: All 50 states have AMBER plans, and a full list is available at the NCMEC's website.
For those states that have statewide plans, choosing any zip code in the state will ensure the customer receives any AMBER Alert issued in that state. However, if they choose five zip codes in a state with a statewide AMBER plan, they will receive the same Alert five times.
For states with regional plans, customers must choose a zip code located in that region in order to receive an Alert issued in that region.
How many Wireless AMBER Alerts™ are issued each year?
The NCMEC works with law enforcement agencies and issues between 200 and 250 Wireless AMBER Alerts each year.Back to top
About how many Wireless AMBER Alerts™ can a customer expect to receive during the year?
It depends. The hope is that a customer wonít receive any Wireless AMBER Alerts during the year, but it depends on what zip codes have been chosen and how many alerts are issued in that area.Back to top
What will an AMBER Alert™ look like on a Verizon Wireless customerís phone?
The Wireless AMBER Alert will appear in the TXT inbox and will appear as any other text message. It will begin with the words "AMBERALERT," and it wonít exceed 160 characters in length.Back to top
Will another message be sent when the AMBER Alert™ is canceled?
Yes. Additional messages will be sent and those messages will include either updated information or the canceled status for the AMBER Alert.Back to top
If I upgrade my plan, or get a new phone/device, will I have to opt in to Wireless AMBER Alerts™ again, or will it transfer with my new plan/phone?
The choice to receive Wireless AMBER Alerts is associated with a customerís phone number, so if the number remains the same, there is no need to opt-in again. However, if a customer gets a new phone number, they will have to opt-in to the program again.Back to top
If I decide I no longer want Wireless AMBER Alerts™, how do I unsubscribe?
To unsubscribe, a customer should visit the vtext.com site and delete the Wireless AMBER Alert from his or her list of alerts.Back to top
I received an AMBER Alert™ and believe I have information that could be helpful ó whom do I contact?
A customer should call the number of the law enforcement agency that appears in the text of the AMBER Alert notice to report helpful information.Back to top
Please do not call Verizon Wireless or respond to the AMBER Alert message by using your keypad.
Are AMBER Alerts™ available nationwide, or only in certain areas?
Wireless AMBER Alerts™ are available in all 50 states.Back to top
Will customers receive an AMBER Alert™ if they are traveling outside of their home calling area?
Yes. Wireless AMBER Alerts will be delivered the same way as any other text message, so they will be sent if the customer is in a roaming area.Back to top
TXT messages are stored and saved for five days, so if a userís handset is turned off, if the mailbox is full or if the customer is outside of the roaming area, several attempts will be made to deliver the Wireless AMBER Alert within those five days.
If a customer is visiting New York, but has signed up for Wireless AMBER Alerts™ in the Los Angeles zip code, will they still receive that LA Alert? Will they receive a New York alert as well?
When a customer is traveling, they will still receive the Wireless AMBER Alerts for the zip codes/areas they chose when they opted in to the program. So, if a customer is visiting New York, but has signed up with a Los Angeles zip code, and an AMBER Alert is issued in Los Angeles, the customer will receive that alert.Back to top
If an alert is issued in New York, the customer will not receive that alert, even though they are physically in New York at the time the alert is issued.
Is it possible that customers wouldn't receive a Wireless AMBER Alert™ when an alert was distributed in their area?
A vast majority of Wireless AMBER Alerts will be delivered in an expedient fashion. In some cases, factors outside of our control, such as local terrain, weather or interference could delay or prevent the delivery of AMBER Alert notices.Back to top
What are the criteria for issuing Wireless AMBER Alerts™?
NCMEC will initiate the transmission of AMBER Alerts to wireless carriers after law enforcement has issued the alert and the following criteria, recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice, has been met:
- There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that abduction has occurred.
- The abduction is of a child age 17 years or younger.
- The law-enforcement agency believes that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
- There is enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in the recovery of the child.
- The child's name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
Will Verizon Wireless issue an AMBER Alert™ for my child?
No. Local law enforcement issues AMBER Alerts in cooperation with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. To report a missing, abducted or lost child, please call your local law enforcement agency or NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST.Back to top
I need to report a missing child. What should I do?
To report a missing, abducted or lost child, please call your local law enforcement agency or NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST.Back to top