FBI Las Vegas Federal Fact Friday: The Dangers of Swatting
The FBI Las Vegas Field Office wants to educate the public about the dangers of swatting. Swatting is a form of harassment to deceive an emergency service provider into sending a police and emergency service response team to another person’s address due to the false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency. The individuals who engage in this activity use technology, such as caller ID spoofing, social engineering, TTY, and prank calls to make it appear that the emergency call is coming from the victim’s phone. Traditionally, law enforcement has seen swatters directing their actions toward individuals and residences. Increasingly, the FBI sees swatters targeting public places such as airports, schools, and businesses. Another recent trend is so-called celebrity swatting, where the targeted victims are well-known personalities.
These calls are dangerous to first responders and to the victims. The callers often tell tales of hostages about to be executed or bombs about to go off. The community is placed in danger as responders rush to the scene, taking them away from real emergencies, and the officers are placed in danger as unsuspecting residents may try to defend themselves. If you receive a swatting threat or information that an individual is planning to engage in swatting, report it to local law enforcement and the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI immediately.