You may have heard about the prank called “swatting.” This joke often occurs after a disagreement online, but anyone can do it – from teenagers trying to prank their school officials to experienced callers dialing in false reports against government officials, politicians or social media personalities. It is important for you and other Illinois residents to understand that there are serious consequences to making a fake call to authorities.
Swatting is thus named because the intent is to lure law enforcement or armed SWAT teams to an unsuspecting target’s address by claiming there was a violent crime or that a crime is in progress. You may remember an incident that occurred last December. According to Vox, a man called police after a gaming dispute, claiming to be the swatting target and saying he was holding family members hostage and had killed his father. Not only was the subject of the prank unaware what was happening when he answered his door to law enforcement wielding firearms, he had not been involved in the game that sparked the argument. Tragically, the man was killed when officers mistakenly thought he was reaching for a weapon. The man who made the call is facing charges for manslaughter and making a false police report.
Before you decide it would be amusing to make a swatting call against another person, you might want to consider the serious penalties that can be held against you. The information in this blog is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.