The hoax has been debunked a number of times in different countries. Snopes said it began in South Africa in 2008 when Caltex petrol stations were giving away free key holders as part of a promotion.
This early version of the hoax also claimed there were tracking devices in the key holders. It showed photos of a Caltex key holder taken apart to reveal the “tracking device’’.
In the past decade the hoax has popped up in the UK, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.
What are these colourful devices?
The new Facebook version of the hoax shows a picture of colourful Bluetooth key trackers and suggests they are being used to track people. But a key tracker simply uses Bluetooth technology to find lost keys. It’s connected wirelessly to a smartphone and clipped on a key ring. If the keys are lost, an app on the phone helps the user find them.
Police spokesperson Sally de Beer said the warning didn’t come from the police. “Kindly regard it as a hoax. However, we always urge communities to be ever vigilant.”
Can you track people using Bluetooth devices?But could Bluetooth key trackers be used to track potential victims?
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.