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Fake posts about a Category 6 Hurricane Irma are causing panic on social media

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Chances are you've seen social media posts about Hurricane Irma, but how do you know if they're all accurate? As powerful as it may be, social media doesn't always deal in truth.

There are videos and articles being posted and shared thousands of times.

With some of these posts, it's difficult to know if the information about Hurricane Irma is true. That's because people are taking credible website's posts and modifying them or taking them out of context.

One post is a screenshot from NOAA, but someone has altered the path of Irma as if it is going to make a direct hit on Texas. That post is fake.

"I'm not going to lie, the first time I saw hurricane six it kind of brain farted," said Kayla Stevenson, who has seen some of the fake posts.

Stevenson is talking specifically about an article that says Irma could be a category six. It's been shared more than two million times. But, beware before you share, because this isn't true.

"There is no such thing as a category six hurricane. Bottom line, when you get to 157 mile per hour winds, anything above that up to 200 mile per hour basically causes the same amount of damage."
ABC 15 Chief Meteorologist Ed Piotrowski

Then there's another video that's been shared more than 20,000 in less than 24 hours, that shows a worst case scenario of Irma. It's a credible graphic, but it's taken out of context.

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IRMA CAT 6 Pay Attention PeopleSept 1 2017

"Here's the same model run eight different times," explained Piotrowski. "It produces eight different solutions from a New England hit down to a Florida hit. Unfortunately people pick the worst case scenario and they run with it."

And, because of that, it's causing unnecessary panic.

"I think it's pretty ridiculous because a lot of it is clickbait," said Stephen Anderson, who has vetted some fake posts.

Most people our affiliate ABC15 spoke with agree that these posts are dangerous, especially when people are vulnerable after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, which remains on a lot of our minds.

"I just hate that it happens at the expense of public safety and people that are going through a terrible tragedy right now. It's just crazy people would try to benefit from that in any way."
Stephen Anderson

Here are some credible sources if you are looking for information about Hurricane Irma: The National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center and your local meteorologists.

Remember, just because it has a lot of shares, doesn't mean it's accurate.

Our affiliate WJLA contributed to this story.

Watch this Circa story on five ways to avoid becoming a victim of disaster fraud

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Five ways to avoid becoming a victim of disaster fraud

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