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SWAT-ting...Another Form of Bullying?

August 14, 2012 at 11:22 AM

SWAT team pic for blog

SWAT-ting is a new trend that everyone is talking about. It also happens to be a nightmare for police departments around the nation.  SWAT-ting is an attempt to fool an emergency service into dispatching an emergency response team. The callers use services like Spoofcard to disguise the origin of the prank call, change their voices and add background sound effects. 

Most people get SWAT-ted because the prank caller doesn’t agree with their beliefs or is angry with them. It’s scary to think that if someone doesn’t agree with you, the S.W.A.T team could show up at your house with their guns drawn. As of now, no one has gotten hurt, but that doesn’t mean that someone won’t in the future.

This is taking bullying to a whole new level. It’s bad enough that kids are being cyberbullied but this new craze is out of control. No one is safe! Anyone who has an opinion and voices that opinion can be a target. It’s unfortunate because we are supposed to have freedom of speech and one of the great things about living in this country is that we are a large melting pot and have different views and opinions.

New Call-to-Action As of now celebrities, politicians, bloggers, and teenagers have been a target of this mean spirited crime. Miley Cyrus was the most recent person SWAT-ted. Police surrounded her home after receiving a phony call stating that there was a home invasion. After inspecting the property, the police realized that there was no forced entry and no one was home. In fact, Miley Cyrus was on location filming a movie.

It costs the police department somewhere around $10,000 each time one of these prank calls are made.  Legislators are currently trying to make this a 4 year felony and the punishment will include reimbursement of costs in full. I believe if we make the punishment harsh enough, it will deter some people from committing this crime. SWAT-ting is not a joke and needs to be taken seriously.

Steven Woda

Written by Steven Woda

Steve Woda is the co-founder and CEO of uKnow, and a leader in the Internet safety and security field for over 15 years. He frequently speaks on the topics of Internet and mobile security, ecommerce and information economics. You can follow Steve on Twitter or on his blog.

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