Technology

Newest Prank "Swatting": Calling in Crime to Draw SWAT Team

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

It's the latest prank that could prove to be very dangerous.

"Swatting" is defined as calling in a fake crime to 911 that draws a real SWAT team. But it goes far beyond a simple phony phone call. Certain technology is used to make it appear that the call is coming from the alleged victim's house.

The latest incident happened Monday night in Oregon. According to a report from The Register-Guard, police in Eugene got a call from a man saying he had just shot his father and was about to kill himself.

“It sounded like a critical call,” police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said.

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A team of 14 police officers responded to an apartment. They handcuffed a man and woman who were inside, searched the place, and concluded that the call was a hoax.

It appears this was all over a dispute over a video game. The man in the apartment, who did not want his name revealed, told The Register-Guard that he was playing an online game with someone when they got into an argument.

“He tried to twist my arm over something relatively small in the game,” the man said.

The other player had previously told him that he somehow obtained his name and address.

“He brought it to my attention, like ‘I have this information on you, and you should protect it,’ ” he said.

The other player apparently used this information in his 911 call. He was somehow able to manipulate computer and telephone equipment to make it look like the call was coming from the man's apartment.

“We can’t tell where the call originated,” the police spokeswoman said.

“I am really good with computers, but I had no idea this could happen,” the man said. "I really messed with the wrong guy."