Ashton Kutcher is the latest famous name to be associated with a “swatting” — a malicious prank in which a seemingly serious distress call to police turns out to be a false alarm with a spoofed phone number, aimed at luring a SWAT team to swarm a particular location.
Police hurried to Kutcher’s Lake Hollywood home late Wednesday morning after a woman called police — more on that “call” later — and claimed to be hiding in a closet because there was an armed man inside the home, L.A. Now reported. The actor was not home at the time.
Upon arriving, authorities found no woman hiding and no armed man in the home, though they did detain some workers who were at the property.
“Detained.” That sounds rather antiseptic. I bet I have a pretty good idea what that word signifies in practice.
Although I’d like to think that police are getting wise to the tactic, including this quite common method:
Also, what was being referred to as a “call” was not a 911 call but actually a teletype message, the type of communication that a deaf person would use, a police spokesman said Wednesday at a news conference.
I got a call from CBS News yesterday about this. They were looking to have me go on camera to discuss my incident. I declined, but told them about what had happened to me.
I call the incidents at Kutcher’s and Cyrus’s homes “attempted swattings.” The swatter(s) didn’t take steps to assure that the victims were home. The incidents didn’t happen in the middle of the night. Someone was sending a message of some sort, but it’s not clear they wanted anyone killed.
I wonder what kind of police attention these attempted swattings are getting, as compared to the politically motivated swattings of four of us between June 2011 and June 2012. It would be interesting to know, wouldn’t it?