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10 Forms of Online Harassment


7
Swatting
SWAT teams move into position in Massachusetts while searching for a marathon bombing suspect. Phoning in a fake 9-1-1 call about a serious crime can result in a SWAT team descending on an unsuspecting target, a dangerous practice called swatting. Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe via Getty Images
SWAT teams move into position in Massachusetts while searching for a marathon bombing suspect. Phoning in a fake 9-1-1 call about a serious crime can result in a SWAT team descending on an unsuspecting target, a dangerous practice called swatting. Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

GamerGate was also part of another disturbing trend, swatting. At least three people in the gaming community were swatted in 2015 for criticizing GamerGate [source: Cross].

"The majority of the time swatting happens after an online game where the loser gets upset with the winner," Hitchcock says, explaining that the angry party puts in a false 9-11 call for a serious, violent crime like homicide or even terrorism, effectively dispatching emergency law enforcement to the winner's home in droves. "The more you get to show up, the better," Hitchcock adds.

So, the victim opens the door and gets tackled/tazed/pepper-sprayed by a police team. The perpetrator of the hoax could receive a sentence of up to five years in prison (varies by state). At least one state is trying to pass a bill requiring convicted swatters to pay the bill for the emergency services rendered [source: BBC]. With the possibility that someone may get shot during a SWAT raid, swatting is an extremely dangerous maneuver.


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