Jacksonville teens victims of ‘swatting’ after being harassed in online chat room

Swatting or calling 911 and faking an emergency at a home, school, or business to get a response from law enforcement is something that’s been happening for years. Seven swatting incidents happened in Jacksonville dating back to last year with the most recent one happening in January.

News4JAX has been looking at four cases and two of them involved teens who were being harassed in an online chat room or playing a game online.

The report said there were multiple swatting calls between Oct. 9 and Nov. 1 of last year.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said when they went to a home in the Sandalwood neighborhood of the city on Nov. 1, it was in response to a domestic dispute.

They also learned the same address had a previous call for someone being shot, which was revealed to be swatting.

The report went on to say these incidents started after a teen at that location was being contacted on a game messaging system by someone requesting money.

They were threatened to send it and if they didn’t, the police and random food deliveries would start showing up. Which ended up happening so the family submitted paperwork to the FBI.

Retired JSO director Tom Hackney said being the victim of swatting calls can be scary.

“It takes away a level of trust that folks have,” Hackney said. “You want to feel secure in your own home and the next thing you know you’ve got law enforcement knocking at your door and not beating it down based on false reports and we really take that seriously.”

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