What is “Swatting” And How Do I Protect My Family

Swatting is making prank calls to emergency services with the intent of sending those services to the victim’s home. Emergency services, such as a 911 operator may dispatch an emergency response team, and depending what the story is being told by the prank caller, the operator may dispatch a SWAT team. SWAT is Special Weapons and Tactics. Those are the guys and gals in all black with the headgear and big guns.

Caller ID spoofing technologies are used as a tool to disguise the caller and send law enforcement officers on bogus calls. Caller ID spoofing is the practice of causing the telephone network to display a number on the recipient’s caller ID display which is not that of the actual originating caller. 911 systems operators and the technology behind 911 calls have been tricked by calls placed from cities hundreds of miles away.

Most people trust caller ID and are unaware of caller ID spoofing. This is obviously a flawed system ripe for fraud.

MSNBC reports Doug Bates and his wife, Stacey, were in bed around 10 p.m., their 2-year-old daughters asleep in a nearby room. Suddenly they were shaken awake by the wail of police sirens and the rumble of a helicopter above their suburban Southern California home. A criminal must be on the loose, they thought.

Doug Bates got up to lock the doors and grabbed a knife. A beam from a flashlight hit him. He peeked into the backyard. A swarm of police, assault rifles drawn, ordered him out of the house. Bates emerged, frightened and with the knife in his hand, as his wife frantically dialed 911. They were handcuffed and ordered to the ground while officers stormed the house.

WOW!! IMAGINE!! Whatever happened to asking if the store had Prince Albert in a can?

Swatting is dangerous and can end up deadly for both the homeowner and law enforcement.

  • If ever you awaken to sirens outside your home it is always best to call your local police department to find out what is going on. There could be a fire, an escaped convict or a killer walking the streets. An open line of communication with the authorities might avert a tragedy.
  • Stay in your house if there is a lot of commotion outside. You can see everything you need to through the windows. Police will generally secure the perimeter before they ram the entranceways. This may give the homeowner an opportunity to straighten out a potentially messy situation…through the window or over the phone.
  • I’ve never been a big fan of lethal weaponry for civilians without proper training. When a cop sees anyone for any reason come out of their home with a gun or knife, they will consider that person armed and most likely consider that person dangerous.

To ensure home security, install a home security system to alert you to anyone entering your home and install home security cameras so you can watch and record all the action from your home office on your PC. You might get a chuckle out of watching the video some day. NOT!

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing personal security and self defense on Fox Boston. Disclosures