New Prank Trend: Sic SWAT Teams on Celeb Homes
'Swatting' proving difficult for authorities stamp out
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2012 2:44 PM CST
Simon Cowell, "swatting" victim.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

(Newser) – Pranksters' latest hoax of choice: make a fake distress call reporting hostages or armed robbers at an address that happens to belong to a celebrity, thus sending authorities—hopefully a SWAT team—to the star's home. Simon Cowell was the most recent victim of "swatting," with a caller falsely claiming a woman was being held hostage in his bathroom. But because the dispatcher suspected a hoax, Beverly Hills police checked it out and left quickly. However, multiple squad cars were scrambled last month when someone reported shots fired at Justin Bieber's, and heavily armed deputies didn't realize they'd been had until they swept Bieber's place and two others nearby. In the past few months, a helicopter was dispatched to Ashton Kutcher's residence, and firefighters joined police at Miley Cyrus' home.

Authorities are concerned the pranks, which have actually been played for years but are just recently gaining mainstream popularity, could turn fatal—officers have already been injured while responding to some. And they're not sure what to do, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some swatters can actually trick caller ID into making it look like the 911 call came from inside the celebrity's home, and tracing the calls can be difficult. Even if the swatter is caught, in California making a false police report is just a misdemeanor; now, authorities and lawmakers are looking into making it a felony.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
Tology
Nov 29, 2012 4:05 AM CST
Old News!
HMD-SMD-ITY
Nov 28, 2012 11:37 PM CST
CID pranking is one element. You can even do it for free at many websites. Sometimes it is necessary to get rid of annoying callers. I had a two-day period last year when this lady living in a Section-8 housing project kept calling me about every 10 minutes. I think she had got her drug contact wrong and thought I was refusing to selling her dime bags. She kept leaving hateful voice messages. It didn't help that I told her I was already in contact with police as she just said, "Bring them on." So, I had to cook up a highly sophisticated plan of attack that would get rid of her once and for all. Part of my problem was she used more than one phone. So I had to be sure I had all her phones registered for the scam. I wouldn't want to spring it on a friend. And boy, did I cook up a good one. So to set up the plan, one of the times she called me I asked if it was OK for me to transfer her case to the FBI. She said, "Honey, yous gotsa do what youz gotsa do." So I was already on a train headed to a hotel for a week of relaxation. I needed her off my phone so I could rest. So when I got to the hotel I signed up with a phone prank service. The first thing I did was have it call her phone every 5 minutes for a 24 hour period. That alone freed up my phone because a prank site was constantly calling her #s. Of course I used the hotel wifi to do this so it couldn't be tracked back to me. It worked great until exactly at 24 hours she calls me and starts it all back up. So now I would spring part B. I found out the real # to the local FBI office nearest that lady. Once I had that # I signed up with a CID pranking site. I put the FBI number in the (number to be called) box. The site then asked for my #. I put the lady's number for my #. It then asked what CID info I wanted. I put her # for the info. I then hit and let the plan to into action. So here's what I figured happened, because that was 18 months ago and I've not been bothered since. The prank website connected the lady with the real FBI. An operator at FBI answered on one side and the perp answered on the other. I'm sure the operator said, "FBI, how can I direct your call." The lady probably got belligerent and maybe said some bad things and hung up. Hey, her # was in the caller ID so they could call her back. I'm betting the FBI did call her back. Its at that time this lady realized what happens when you frick with me. Had she continued, I was going to escalate it to a level II revenge.
njgreen
Nov 28, 2012 4:13 PM CST
Make it a felony - now.