Gamers use police hoax to lash out at opponents

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

DENVER (AP) — Authorities are increasingly concerned about a hoax in which video game players lash out at online opponents by making fake 911 calls that send SWAT teams to their homes.

The practice, known as "swatting," originally targeted celebrities. Experts say it's now becoming more popular with gamers seeking retaliation. It offers anonymity and a way to watch the hoax unfold live over game-streaming systems.

In Littleton, Colorado, a SWAT team swarmed the office of a video game company after a 911 caller claimed he had shot his co-workers and was holding hostages. But officers found nothing of the sort, just a surprised man playing a game on his computer. Similar cases have happened in New York, Florida, Connecticut and elsewhere.

Pranksters use technology to mask the origin of their calls.