FBI Phoenix
Jill McCabe
(623) 466-1844
September 4, 2018

Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, and Educators Warn of Posting Hoax Threats

Education Campaign Reminds the Public to #ThinkBeforeYouPost

PHOENIX—On September 4, 2018, the FBI Phoenix Field Office and our local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement partners, along with prosecutors, and educators are joining together to educate the public on the consequences of posting hoax threats to schools and other public places. We want to remind communities that these hoax threats are not a joke.

In the aftermath of tragic shootings such as the ones at Santa Fe High School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the FBI and law enforcement around the country often see an increase in threats made to schools and other public forums.

The FBI and our partners follow up on every tip we receive from the public, and analyze and investigate all threats to determine their credibility. Federal, state, and local law enforcement then employ a full range of tools to mitigate those threats which are deemed credible. Making false threats depletes law enforcement resources, which can in turn cost taxpayers money. When an investigation concludes there was a false or hoax threat made to a school, or another public place, a federal charge could be considered, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. If a federal charge is not warranted, state charges can be considered.

Public assistance is crucial to our efforts to curb these hoax threats. We ask that the public continue to contact law enforcement to report any potential threats or suspicious activity. If there is any reason to believe the safety of others is at risk, we ask that the public immediately contact 911 and provide details to law enforcement. Non-emergency information that can benefit investigations or prevent acts of violence, can be reported to the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC) at (877) 2-SAVEAZ (877-272-8329) and/or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at tips.fbi.gov.

Early intervention can prevent a situation from escalating by identifying, assessing, and managing the threat. Remember, if you see something, say something. Hoax threats are not a joke, so think before you post!