Swatting: What is it and how to avoid it

What is Swatting?

Swatting – “the act of tricking an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing a 9-1-1 dispatcher) into dispatching an emergency response based on the false report of an on-going critical incident.” The response can range from anywhere between the cops showing up to bomb squads, depending on the false information given.

Swatting is a serious offense that is both reckless and dangerous.

  • The person being swatted will have no idea what is going on. And if the police were lead to believe that the suspect may be armed/dangerous, there is a very real chance of the person being shot or killed.
  • Pets have an even higher chance of being killed.
  • The police themselves could be placed in danger if the person being targeted believe they are being robbed/invaded.
  • The financial costs can range up to $10,000, and it’s being wasted on a malicious prank rather than anything actually beneficial.
  • The manpower being used for the prank is being diverted away from other actual crimes/dangers that they could be focusing on. This is harming countless other people who may need police assistance.

A person found responsible for swatting faces a year of jail time and up to $10,000 in fines. [1]

Are you at Risk?

People who have been swatted fall into into two distinct categories

A new category may need to be added to include those that have been supposedly swatted in relation to fighting against “Social Justice Warriors,” particularly those involved in Gamergate. Names not included for lack of evidence.

If you believe that you are at risk
Call Your Local Police Department.

This is the biggest precaution you can take. Make them aware of the possibility of being swatted. They will still be obligated to check your house, but they can make attempts to trace the call and may be less on guard when responding.

Other safeguards that you can take are

  1. Leave at least one light on inside.
    • If the police are able to have vision into your home, they will feel that much more relaxed about the situation. It will help confirm that nothing dangerous/illegal is going on.
  2. Get pets out of the house.
    • You may want to move your pets, particularly dogs, to a different location.
  3. Get yourself out of the house.
    • If you really believe you are at a real threat of being swatted, it may be best to remove yourself from the situation completely and stay somewhere else. Somewhere SECRET.

If you have been swatted, file a formal complaint. Get the police to open an official case to investigate who made the call. You can also ask them to forward the report to the FBI as this will fall under cyberterrorism.

Credit to Mike Cernovich (@PlayDangerously) for information on swatting prevention.

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