Fake Emergency Calls are Creating a Dangerous Trend Called "Swat - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fake Emergency Calls are Creating a Dangerous Trend Called "Swatting"

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 KENNEWICK, WA - A troubling trend could put your safety at risk. It's called 'swatting.' Pranksters call in fake 911 emergencies with the goal of getting police and often SWAT teams to respond.

The act of pranking emergency responders has been around for a very long time. But now, advances in technology and techniques are making it more common. The pranksters typically use an untraceable phone number to make the call. They report dangerous scenarios like hostage situations or a shooting. 

For some victims, it's part of an online gaming trend where the SWAT raid is actually live streamed from the target's home. For local officers they say verifying that initial call is key.

"Very unwise. We do have ways to, through investigation, find out where these calls have come from that person will be arrested for a serious crime and not to mention, we're tying up those resources, those first responders," said SWAT Supervisor Wayne Dubois.

Swatting is a misdemeanor or a felony in the U.S. Pranksters can also be held responsible for paying restitution for the call out, which in some cases is more than $10,000.