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Swatting

What is it?

‘Swatting’ is the practice of making hoax or prank calls to emergency services about ongoing critical incidents in order to fool them into visiting an address unnecessarily. The term comes from the American use of SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams who respond to emergencies with specialised equipment such as powerful firearms and door breaching tools.

Why?

Essentially – to cause irritation, inconvenience and fear for the victim. Swatting can range from isolated incidents, intended to create rumours or get a victim in trouble, to sustained bouts of swatting attacks where bomb squads are deployed and schools or businesses are evacuated multiple times. Swatting is generally linked to cases of online harassment and hate campaigns and is often combined with the doxing of victims, where their address has been released publicly, allowing swatting attacks to be directed to their house or workplace.

To find out more about doxing you can visit the Help Centre.

How can I prevent it?

The best way to prevent becoming the victim of a swatting attack is to protect your information preemptively. To find out more about keeping your private details out of the wrong hands, visit our guide to Preventing Doxing.