An hysterical woman dressed in surgical scrubs rushed up to rescue workers outside the shattered remains of the World Trade Centre on Friday morning, clutching a mobile phone and crying out that her police officer husband was still alive under the rubble and had just called her. She said nine others were with him in the basement of Tower One, sending rescue teams into a frenzy of panicked activity for several hours. 'The response was immediate. They were trying to pinpoint the location based on what she said,' police commissioner Bernard Karik said. The problem was, the woman was lying. There was no phone call. There were no survivors huddled in the dark. The woman, 26, was arrested and faces several charges. Incidents such as this are becoming more and more common in New York City. Even as thousands of volunteers come forward to help, scores of scam artists, looters and liars have also surfaced, often with disastrous results. Mr Karik called the arrested woman 'a nut'. Other incidents have been even more harmful. In the past few days, telemarketing operations have been set up to make bogus requests for donations, often from the families of victims. More than 100 bomb threats have been reported, spilling tens of thousands of workers into the streets as buildings are evacuated. Police have found volunteer rescue workers stealing watches. Phone calls have been received from numerous people falsely claiming to be buried under the rubble. An FBI spokesman said the rash of incidents did not appear to be a co-ordinated effort to disrupt the city, but rather the actions of criminals and deviants. 'I don't think there is a particular pattern. Usually these are hoaxes, but they are very disruptive,' he said. Television stations that have broadcast non-stop coverage of the situation since Tuesday have been criticised for spreading rumours and giving attention-seekers a platform to cause trouble. In one case, a local CBS affiliate television station ran a long interview with an emotional firefighter who had an American flag wrapped around his helmet. The man tearfully told how he had been working non-stop for two days trying to save his brothers who were caught in the collapse. It later emerged that he had made up the whole story. Irate fire commissioner Thomas Von Essen banned all department members from giving interviews. 'Giving out inaccurate information is dangerous to my people and I want it to stop,' he said. Several Web sites have been shut down after they began posting false news about survivors being discovered. As Americans seethe with anger against Middle East nations and Arab terrorists in the aftermath of the attack, coming to grips with the damage being done by their own countrymen has been difficult for New Yorkers. The city has been quick to wrap itself in the flag of nationalism, but in some ways Americans remain their own worst enemies. Mayor Rudy Giuliani demanded that the disruptive activity be put to an end immediately. 'We will make examples of them. If we arrest you, we will work very, very hard to put you in jail,' he said.