Jerks continue to waste everyone's time—and risk people's lives—by getting the cops to raid the homes of unsuspecting, innocent gamers. We and other outlets have covered "swatting" incidents. Now Phoenix, Arizona station 12 News is on the case, too.
We sometimes laugh at how the local news gets gaming stories wrong, but 12 News does a solid job here explaining how a prank call made to the police led to cops surrounding the house of Sameer Yacoub. The call had indicated that there might have been a murder there.
According to the report, Yacoub's 14-year-old son had been talking trash with another gamer in a "party chat". A rival gamer messaged him that he was going to be swatted.
Yacoub and his wife were reportedly playing outside with their three-year-old daughter, when his wife spotted a man with a gun. The man was one of the police officers closing in on the Yacoub's home.
12 News goes on to talk to a cyber security expert who doesn't add a whole lot of insight other than advising people to protect their identities and keep their passwords updated to protect oneself.
Making a false report to the police is a crime and, in various jurisdictions, can result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Those who've done this kind of thing have also been brought up on federal charges. Swatting also costs taxpayer money, as police are obligated to respond to these calls with ample force long before they can know whether a given call was a hoax.
There's no indication that the person who called the cops was caught or charged.
Gamers aren't the only ones getting swatted, though. A report on Detroit's WXYZ name-checks the swatting of celebrities like Justin Bieber before going into a rash of similar pranks happening to locals.
Can folks please find some other prank to play on people who annoy them? Maybe one that possibly doesn't involve anyone getting guns pointed at them? I don't know, get a bunch of pizzas sent to their house? Toilet-paper their front yard? There's got to be a way to do that remotely, right?