By Justin Stakes
United States -(Ammoland.com)- Swatting is a term that refers to the exorbitant prank involving somebody calling the authorities on Twitch streamers; as well as other individuals, while stating false accusations meant to discredit the individual.
Twitch is the world's leading video platform and community in which gamers broadcast live events for others to watch and chat from anywhere around the world.
It’s an elaborate form of a prank or personal vendetta; it all depends on the way you look at it, intended to draw a major response from law enforcement, usually a swat team. Unsuspecting individuals are arrested mid-stream while one or a few entities get to have a “good” laugh.
Originally coined by the FBI around 2008, swatting has been going on for years and usually involves elaborate stories created for the sole purpose of one’s enjoyment. Anonymous callers tend to tell tales of hostages about to be executed, bombs going off, and much more.
Of course, this in turn places the overall community at high-risk of danger as well as the unsuspecting individuals that these pranks are played on as law enforcement will rush to the scene, away from genuine crimes. Local authorities are also put in the way of danger as the unsuspecting residents may try to defend themselves.
The FBI stated in an article released in 2008 that the swat schemes can become quite elaborate and fairly sophisticated such as the following case that was under investigation by the Dallas office of the FBI and a wide range of partners:
“Five swatters in several states targeted people who were using online telephone party chat lines (or their family or friends). The swatters found personal details on the victims by accessing telecommunication company information stored on protected computers. Then, by manipulating computer and phone equipment, they called 9-1-1 operators around the country. By using “spoofing technology,” the swatters even made it look like the calls were actually coming from the victims! Between 2002 and 2006, the five swatters called 9-1-1 lines in more than 60 cities nationwide, impacting more than 100 victims, causing a disruption of services for telecommunications providers and emergency responders, and resulting in up to $250,000 in losses. Swats that the group committed included using bomb threats at sporting events, causing the events to be delayed; claiming that hotel visitors were armed and dangerous, causing an evacuation of the entire hotel; and making threats against public parks and officials.”
The swatters were initially tracked down through the help and cooperative efforts of local, state, and federal agencies as well as the assistance provided with the cooperation of the telecommunication companies and first responders. The preliminary case involved 40 local and state jurisdictions in a dozen individual states. All five criminals pled guilty to a variety of charges and were sentenced in 2008.
One of the more recent swatting situations involved Jordan Mathewson; founder and CEO of the popular streaming company The Creatures, being detained while streaming a popular franchise called Counter-Strike from his office complex in Littleton, Colorado. As the video begins you can see Mathewson looking over his shoulder as he hears a ruckus coming from the hallway outside.
“Uh oh, this isn't good,” he says, “They're clearing rooms. What in the world? I think we're getting swatted…….What in the world?…. I think we're getting swatted.”
The FBI estimates that roughly 400 swatting calls are made on a yearly basis.
See the full video below.
In short, a full-scale Swat team burst into Mathewson’s office while brandishing deadly gear in hand and shouting obscene statements such as, “GET ON THE FUCKING GROUND!” In most cases, this is usually where the swatting tends to end.
However, Colorado 9 News reports that the efforts of this particular Swatting situation was especially loud and disparaging due to an anonymous tip from a depraved individual claiming to have killed a number of his co-workers as well as lodging a multitude of explosive devices around the current perimeters of which Mathewson was currently presiding.
Multiple schools from surrounding and nearby areas were put on a complete lockdown as a result of the immense response of both the local police and Swat Force. Individuals nearby were also evacuated as an immediate precaution while police investigated the situation further and the Swat team searched for the non-existent killer.
This is hardly the first case of swatting to undergo an investigation, in actuality swatting has been going for years among hackers and similar groups alike. The reason swatting calls result in such a massive police response is due to the fact that 9-1-1 operators can’t tell if the call is fake and they have to assume at all costs that it’s real. The initial phone calls are made using intricate software designed to hide their identity and location while creating a signal to make it seem as though it came from the victim's phone.
Aside from sending out a bunch of well-armed officers to innocent people’s homes, the Swat teams efforts seem to mimic the “no knock” raids that have nearly become a standard in the police force. Swatting can cost thousands of dollars, a fact that California State Senator Ted Lieu knows far too well as a victim of swatting himself. All levels of Law Enforcement agencies are currently working with telecommunication providers from across the country to address any and all swatting activity.
Furthermore, U.S. Secret Service Agents are said to have joined the hunt for whoever made the call resulting in the Littleton swatting incident.
Article by Justin Stakes
Copyright @ J. Stakes Photography
Justin Stakes is a Freelance Photographer and Journalist dealing with a variety of different subjects that interest and inspire his love for the great outdoors and more. Justin is an avid outdoor enthusiast and geek with a photographic style that is a mixture of photojournalism and fine art. He has won three Photo Show Competitions throughout his education and has even been exhibited in the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art.