An innocent online prank? What you need to know about swatting

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2018 | blog |

Like most young people, you like to spend a lot of time online. Whether you catch up with your friends on social media or you are into gaming, there is nothing wrong with unwinding from the stress of your day by getting on the internet. However, it is important for you and other South Dakota residents to understand the potentially harmful and serious consequences of taking an online joke too far.

It is understandable that sometimes you might get into arguments online. Someone might say something you disagree with in a discussion room, or one of your gaming friends could mess up and cause your team to lose. There are some who take an online disagreement to extremes by making threats, harassing others or engaging in a prank that can cause actual harm.

Man killed in swatting incident

One common type of online prank is “swatting,” which you may have heard of after a recent incident in which an innocent man from Wichita, Kansas, died. Reportedly, a man from Los Angeles, California, made a false police report against the Kansas man after an online dispute over a game. The California man allegedly told Wichita police that the unsuspecting Kansas man had killed his father and was holding other relatives at gunpoint. Responding to the call, officers shot and killed the Kansas man when they thought he was reaching for a weapon, which he did not have. The Los Angeles man is now being held without bail on felony charges.

Swatting is no joke

Swatting gets its name from the fake call that pranksters make to draw armed officers or S.W.A.T. teams to an unwitting person’s location. As you might expect, swatting is not a victimless prank, and it can result in someone getting seriously hurt. Even if nobody sustains any harm from a swatting call, authorities take it seriously and will most likely pursue criminal charges against those who participate.