Imagine you’re relaxing with your pet on a weekend afternoon. Suddenly, somebody knocks on your door, and you’re not expecting anyone.
Once you open the door, a group of SWAT officers orders you to be on the ground. They searched every corner of the rooms and even the washroom.
Still, you don’t have any sort of idea that why it’s happening.
That’s not only embarrassing, but it’s terrifying, too.
This is termed as SWATTING, a serious and dangerous form of harassment.
In this blog, we will discuss each minute of detail about swatting. Before that, let’s have a brief introduction.
What is Swatting?
According to Wikipedia, it’s a harassment technique by making a hoax call to report a serious crime to SWAT. People fool emergency services and compel them to send a SWAT team to the pre-determined address. These false emergencies include bomb threats, hostage situations, kidnappings, or even murder. It encourages the SWAT team to respond at a high level based on the false report.
Of late, swatting is a growing issue in the USA. Many high-profile cases have been reported already that caused property damage, injury, or even death. Additionally, it also causes a waste of valuable resources and leaves law enforcement officers at risk.
How Swatting Can Take Place?
Technology plays a pivotal role in performing swatting extensively. Individuals do this with the use of online messages or anonymous phone calls, which enables him/her to mask their location and identity. There are other ways, too-
- Hacking– In this case, the perpetrator can access the targeted person’s online accounts, enabling them to make convincing threats to harass the victim.
- Spoofing– This is the technique of masking the phone number or mail address to make it appear as if the call or text is coming from a different location. It will make it difficult for law enforcement to detect the source of the threat.
- collaboration– Some perpetrators can collaborate with others to carry out an incident by sharing the incident or by coordinating false report timing.
What’s the Psychological Impact of Swatting
Most of the swatting calls are generated by systems. According to the New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, “Most of the time the source of the call is foreign lands.” The main aim of these calls is to spread fear in communities. The consequences of these calls can be fatal, especially the psychological impacts.
1. Develops a Sense of Insecurity
Once the victims experience swatting, they feel that’re not safe in the environment. This can lead to isolation. Moving forward, it can cause depression and loneliness.
2. Stressful Situations
Based on the nature of the call, the impact of the calls can be vulnerable. In fact, the individuals may experience the symptoms of PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder, like difficulty sleeping, flashbacks, and nightmares.
3. Loss of Confidence Level
Once an individual experiences swatting, the immediate effect of powerlessness strikes the mind. Even, it can affect the confidence levels of that specific person, which negatively impacts the overall self-esteem.
How to Protect Yourself from Swatting?
Anyone can be the victim of swatting. However, the perpetrators target influential persons or a popular area where a pool of people can be affected within a short time. It includes shopping malls, schools, airports, hospitals, government buildings, and other high-profile locations.
You should be cautious while sharing your personal information with others, especially your name, address, and phone number. Here’s how you can protect your privacy.
1. Mask Your Home Address
Ensure that your home address isn’t public, especially when you’re using public networks. Refrain from trusting random people with your personal information.
2. Hide IP Address
A perpetrator can dig deeper to find your personal information if they have your IP address. You should hide your IP address through a VPN service. You can select the best VPN network in the USA to safeguard your privacy.
3. Fraudulent Social Engineering Tactics
Fraudsters use various social engineering tricks to compel you to provide your home address, phone number, etc. Even, they can encourage you to install malicious software like stalker ware, spyware, and keyloggers. Once you install this, the perpetrators can access your geographical location. Be aware of these tools and other social engineering tactics to save yourself from being scammed. You can use the free spyware removal tool to check your system.
What Does Swatting Mean in Politics
Recent Swatting Attempts Against Member of Congress
- Rep. Brandon Williams reported on 25th December 2023 that his home was swatted during the occasion of Christmas Day. The scammer prompted the Cayuga County Sheriff’s office to raise a raid. Brandon wrote on X: “Our home was swatted this afternoon.” However, the troopers contacted Brandon in person before arriving at his home.
- Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene’s house was also attacked on Christmas day. She also wrote on X: “Our home was swatted this Christmas day when I was enjoying with my family.”
How to Stop Swatting?
If you’re the victim of swatting, don’t be anxious. You should stay calm and sober while cooperating with the authorities. It will help them to understand that you’re targeted with hoax calls, which don’t have any ground. You can use the opt-in registry system of the local enforcement department to prevent swatting.
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