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Why a phone receives an AMBER Alert

Greece, N.Y. - An AMBER Alert in Monroe County Monday prompted many people to ask, "Why did it go to my phone?"

13WHAM News spoke with a senior investigator at the New York State Police Special Victim's Unit and he said there's two ways your phone could receive an alert.

First, if you sign-up for alerts at nyalert.gov, you can control if you receive a text or email alert.

Second, if you own a smartphone it is already set up to receive an alert. This is something that can be controlled in your phone's settings. To check out those settings in an iPhone go to SETTINGS -> NOTIFICATION CENTER -> and scroll to the bottom to see AMBER Alerts.

An AMBER Alert comes from a Wireless Emergency Alert system. The WEA is programmed by the Department of Justice and works off cell towers. If you are in the area where a child goes missing, despite having a different area code, you could receive an alert.

The investigator said an Amber Alert only goes out if police know the suspect's license plate number.

If someone didn't receive an Amber Alert before today it could be for a number of reasons including a new phone, a phone updates or you weren't in the area at the time.

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