In today’s episode Chuck explains a disturbing new internet prank called SWATing that has cost innocent people their lives. He explains why those who cause these pranks can expect prosecution, even if they try to hide their identity.

SWATing Video Transcript

Hey! Hi friends.

There is something new that people are doing because they think it is funny. It’s called SWATing. I don’t know if anyone has ever heard of this, I actually had a case like this a couple of years ago. They didn’t give it that name, but this is how it works.

Typically the people who do this are gamers. But they are somebody who wants to get back at somebody. What they do is, they call 911 and they do it from a blocked number or from an app that actually changes the number you’re calling from so that it can’t be traced – well they think it can’t be traced back to them. Then they say that something is going on. Hey you’re looking for a wanted felon at such and such an address, or there are a bunch of people with guns, pointing the guns out the window at an address.

What that does is it amps up the 911 operator, she thinks its an emergency. She gets the police together, and they decide to go in in force because they are concerned about weapons or whatever it may be, a fugitive from justice. Then they show up at the house with a SWAT team. “SWATing” . Well, I mean I suppose it could be funny unless you are on the wrong end of that where you’re a homeowner and you’re inside the house, and the front door gets knocked down with a bunch of guns being pointed at you. Or worse than that, is that you think someone is breaking into the house, you don’t think they’re law enforcement for whatever reason, and you attempt to pull a gun. Guess what, you will get shot, or someone else will get shot.

Then the person who is SWATing or called the people in under false pretenses or called the police in under false pretenses. They could be charged with a crime. In the case I had, had somebody been shot, or killed, they could have been charged with a minimum of Manslaughter if they were killed. I can’t even think of the endless possibilities of criminal charges based on what could have happened.

It’s a bad idea. It’s a bad idea to try and get back at anybody, but this is even a worse idea.

There are apps out there to disguise the number you’re calling from. In the case I am familiar with, a subpoena was issued on the company that developed the app and serviced the app, where the records were gotten. So it was eventually traced back to this particular client. And he got arrested. So, that shouldn’t be in your toolbox of getting back at anybody by any means.

Actually, Social Media Defamation is becoming a new type of cause of action in terms of suing somebody. You post something on Social Media and the Internet and it’s not true, you’re going to get sued. So stay away from that kind of stuff.

In any event, have a nice new year.