Patterico's Pontifications


The Newest Thing in Scams and Pranks

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 10:42 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

We’ve heard about the Nigerian millionaire scam, the foreign lottery rackets, the fake charities, and the counterfeit bank and eBay emails …

But have you heard about the Jury Duty scam?

“Someone’s trying to use an old trick to steal your identity. It’s been reported in 11 states, including Arizona: someone calls and tells you they’re from the court, and you didn’t show up for jury duty.

The caller says your Social Security number or credit card information is needed to clear up a warrant that’s been issued for your arrest. The FBI’s Manuel Johnson said don’t believe them. “This is just another ploy, another way for people to steal an individual’s identity,” Johnson said.”

Sometimes old tricks work the best, especially if the recipient really did skip out on a jury duty summons, but the piece de resistance has to be the SWATting prank:

“The Orange County Register reports that a 19 year old from Washington state broke into the Orange County California 911 emergency system. He randomly selected the name and address of a Lake Forest, California couple and electronically transferred false information into the 911 system. The Orange County California Sheriff’s Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team was immediately sent to the home of a couple with two sleeping toddlers. The SWAT team handcuffed the husband and wife before deciding it was a prank. Says the article, ‘Other law enforcement agencies have seen similar breaches into their 911 systems as part of a trend picked up by computer hackers in the nation called “SWATting.”

Read the link to see just how dangerous the SWATting prank is.
(H/T Zonk at Slashdot.)

Using government as a cover to hurt people is far, far worse than ordinary scams and pranks and should be punished accordingly.


8 Responses to “The Newest Thing in Scams and Pranks”

  1. Sure ,you can have my ss # ,it would be 18003287448 or, perhaps 547769277. Someone should find these clowns and introduce them to Louis, Louisville slugger, repeatedly.

    Edward Lunny (85f233)

  2. So this is how Alpho earns his living.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  3. “SWATing” should be a major felony with the people responsible going to prison for no less than a decade.

    Techie (c003f1)

  4. I’m sure abuse of the 911 number is illegal, in addition SWATing would arguably constitute reckless endangerment. Throw the boot at ’em, Dano.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  5. So this is how Alpho earns his living.

    Oh, come on TJ, everyone here knows he earns it cutting CDs.

    Paul (d71395)

  6. It dang sure isn’t from his web site, is it?

    reff (bff229)

  7. Of course this SWATting is dangerous — it’s not at all uncommon for SWAT cops to go to the wrong house, and harm (or, for that matter, kill) the occupants.

    The only difference between this “prank” and SOP is that the chances of the SWATsies ending up at a criminal’s house are probably a little lower.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  8. Here is what I am curious about. Aaccording to the OC register article, the deputies could see through the window everything was seemingly normal in the house. Why not just phone the occupants, have them come outside & sort it out? Seems a bit extreme to surround the place with swat with out a bit more information. Perhaps it OS Sheriff protocol & they only ally trained hostage negotiators to make the call? Something doesn’t pass the smell test here.

    Bud Dickman (2a4d4b)

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