View Our Practice Areas

“Swatting” is a serious offense, not merely a prank

In the online world, it can be easy to forget that real people are involved. There are some who enjoy provoking others into arguments in the comments sections of news sites or social media. Others might stalk, bully or harass people on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds. While it might seem harmless, there are some Internet behaviors that cross the line and can result in criminal charges. It is important for Wisconsin residents to understand what is not permissible online, before they are accused of a crime.

A prank called “swatting” is a prime example of the type of online behavior that someone might think is harmless, could result in innocent people being harmed. In December, someone asked a man from Los Angeles, California, to play the prank on a Wichita, Kansas, man, after an online gaming dispute. After the unwitting Kansas man opened his door to a team of armed authorities, he was shot and killed when he made a movement that was mistaken as reaching for a weapon.

The following points define swatting:

  • Someone makes a false report to authorities to lure large numbers of SWAT teams or law enforcement to an unsuspecting person’s residence or workplace.
  • The prank usually occurs as a result of an argument or bullying.
  • Those who participate in swatting may not realize that making false police reports is a crime, or they may not think the results can turn deadly.

In the above case, the Los Angeles man is facing felony charges and is being held without bail. It is understandable that mistakes happen, and people may unwittingly commit a crime online or be pressured into participating. However, understanding the potential consequences of a prank that is taken seriously by authorities may prevent criminal charges.

Source: CNN, "Suspect faces felony charge of fatally 'swatting' man 1,400 miles away," Eliott C. McLaughlin, Jan. 4, 2018

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Questions? We can Help.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

West Bend Office
120 North Main Street Suite 360
West Bend, WI 53095

Toll Free: 888-707-0085
Fax: 262-338-7714
West Bend Law Office Map

Menomonee Falls Office
P.O. Box 768
Menomonee Falls, WI 53052

(By Appointment Only)
Review Us