back to article Heavily armed cops raid IM chat

A California family that found their apartment surrounded by more than a dozen heavily SWAT armed officers are among the latest victims of swatting, a crime designed to elicit an emergency response by reporting a bogus 911 call. Officers from the Salinas Police Department rushed to the apartment last Wednesday after receiving …


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  1. James Butler
    Paris Hilton

    Hmmm ...

    "assault with an assault weapon by proxy"

    I wonder if this is because the threat involved AK-47s or if the State is covering its butt just in case one of the innocents gets nailed by an over-eager SWAT member armed with their M-16?

  2. Steve VanSlyck

    That's a paddlin

    The term "social engineering" - particularly without quotes - should not be used in reputable journals. Doing so imparts to this intentional criminal activity an aura of respectability which it in no wise deserves. Stop it.

  3. Scott

    re: hmmmm.....

    "assault with an assault weapon by proxy".... it was probably an unpatched WPAD proxy ;)

  4. E

    @ James Butler

    Disregard for a moment whether SWAT teams are trigger happy.

    If I convince the SWAT team that a very dangerous situation has occured - a home invasion by AK47 wielding madmen - and direct the SWAT team at an unsuspecting and un-invaded household, then I am perpetrating an assault on that household as well as upon the cops.

    I don't know what that assault is called by the legal code. I do know it is the kind of behaviour that got one a trip to the principal's office some 30 years ago. Merely now it involves dupes - the cops - with loaded guns, and victims - the household - who might be expected to lose their cool when the cops come crashing in. The possible result is not hard to imagine.

    How exactly is the state covering it's ass? The state is as much a victim in this as is the household, as is civil society. This kind of thing should be dealt with very harshly indeed in the courts.

    As for that old chestnut about 'ethical hacking', forget it, you're not allowed to yell 'Fire' in a theatre either, despite the obvious deficiencies in theatre exit door capacity.

  5. Steve Roper

    @ Steve VanSlyck

    Social engineering is in no wise respectable, and as a concept it deserves to be associated in the public mind with fraud and crime. It IS a crime, however it is used. Social engineering is the deliberate and malicious manipulation of public perceptions to serve a private agenda; whether it is a hacking crew, a crime syndicate, a corporation, or a government doing it does not alter the essential evil of the act.

  6. kain preacher

    @By James Butler

    "assault with an assault weapon by proxy"

    Um if go back to the original article the assault weapon was an m16 not an AK. California has a list of what the consider assault weapons. M16, AK are on that list

  7. Anonymous Coward

    The scourge of computer access

    > A suspect in a separate swatting incident in Orange County, California, faces charges including computer access and fraud, false imprisonment by violence, falsely reporting a crime and assault with an assault weapon by proxy.

    I love the idea that "computer access" is a criminal offense ...

  8. Kanhef


    "Social engineering" is the commonly accepted term for techniques involving the exploitation of humans, rather than computers. Respectable or not, using a euphemism won't make it go away.

  9. Jason Togneri

    @ kain preacher

    Um if go back to the original article the assault weapon was an AK-47, not an M16:

    "Officers from the Salinas Police Department rushed to the apartment last Wednesday after receiving a report from someone claiming to be a 15-year-old boy saying three men wielding AK-47 assault weapons were trying to break into his apartment."

    I think that's what he was referring to - the crime was from the other computer user, who talked about AK-47s, and not from the police, who incidentally had M16s.

  10. Andy Worth


    I hope that the people responsible are someday under real armed assault and desperately in need of a SWAT team, who will be unfortunately busy raiding my gran's house due to reports of Semtex in her cookie jar.

    This is a seriously stupid past-time and will get someone killed eventually.

  11. Steve


    I think you'll find that it's "social engineering" which is the euphemism - mainly for simply lying.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "social engineering"

    Surely one man's ‘social engineering’ is another man's propaganda?

    And, while I'm in this jovial mindset, as far as “Social engineering is the deliberate and malicious manipulation of public perceptions to serve a private agenda”… I’ve not heard a better description of politics for a while!

  13. Anonymous Coward


    So, if you're planning a violent crime, pretext an "armed intrusion" a couple of minutes before T-time, and SWAT will be busy elsewhere in the city... Or spawn a rash of these in order to degrade response time; I'm sure a methodical criminal with more than pranks on their mind could get away with it relatively easily.

  14. Shane McCarrick

    We have our own version over here

    We have our own version over here where kids and scumbags with too much time on their hands have discovered that if they remove the SIM from their mobile phones, that they can still dial 112, and direct the emergency services pretty much where-ever they like. It might not be a SWAT team- but a firebrigade or an ambulance on a false call-out, when there is a massive fire or a person in desperate need of assistance elsewhere is everybit as bad as having a SWAT team at some innocent person's door....... The old favourite was using a handheld marine VHF radio and calling the coast guard. There were a spate of calls for a number of years from the Wexford area which resulted on a number of occasions on the Irish Alouette helicopters or the RAF from Wales being scrambled on hoax calls. Jailing the scumbags who abuse emergency services is too good for them......

  15. Keith T

    'social engineering' ?

    "“Social engineering is the deliberate and malicious manipulation of public perceptions to serve a private agenda”

    Nah, that's just posh talk by someone who has gone and clicked on a dodgy advert or been far to greedy when reading e-mails.

    They know they've been caught by the dangly bits by some 14 year old and are far too embarrassed to admit it. Too proud to admit to being conned, they think up a new, less of a 'I've been a total mug' kind of phrase.

    Only lesser mortals get 'conned' --- posh folk get 'social engineered'.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    swat teams not

    trigger happy usually they are better trained and less afraid than your average policemen is when going to a residence (there are more of them and they are better armed). Scared people shoot more often, for less provocation, on the other hand there is enough chance for a tragic mistake to warrant jailing these pranking bastards for a long time and I hope that is what happens.

  17. The low flying Finn

    Removing SIM

    Won't help if you have ever user your phone WITH your sim. Phone serial number is one of many things transmitted over air. You know, they have to distinguish one phone from another... Telcos have records of them.

    Purchase a new phone with cash, or obtain used phone from flea market. Or steal one. Do not use SIM or obtain pre-paid sim with cash. Talk only on crowded areas, and make short calls. Never too many times on same place. Watch for security cameras. Now we are talking about making truly anonymous prank calls.

    *removes tinfoil hat and gets me coat*

  18. Paul George


    If I put my hand in my pocket and say it is a gun, it is assault with deadly weapon in the US. Making someone believe (the police) there was an AK is sufficient.

    Also, _unauthorized_ access to a computer has been a crime here for a while.

  19. James

    "surrounded by more than a dozen...

    ...heavily SWAT armed officers"

    Surely thats not as dangerous as people are making it out to be? They could be really big swats or, heaven forbid - a rolled up Daily Mail!

  20. Steve VanSlyck

    Steve Roper

    Understood - my point is that they should call it what it is, and if El Reg must use the term, at least do so with irony rather than playing on the criminals' gameboard.

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