“It’s a huge issue for the community and law enforcement” That’s what F.B.I. Special Agent Mike Nordwall says about the rise in “swatting” calls towards Altoona Area, Bishop Carroll, and Bellefonte school districts.
The burden of “swatting” calls is unnecessary, and it takes “away from being able to respond to real incidents, or calls for service”
Agents say responders treat the calls as if they’re real, until they’re confirmed not to be. Nordwall says he works with multiple different intelligence agencies, to track down who commits these acts. This involves the suspect quote “spoofing” their calls with technology, to hide their identity.
“We have experts who are doing this, and not just on this side, but all across criminal activities, whether it’s cyber crime, whether it’s transnational organized crime. We have people that are experts, at working through technology, using our technology, in identifying those people.”
This reportedly involves analysts working around the clock, gathering every bit of evidence they can, to hold the person accountable.
Officials also say the calls can be from anywhere in the world. They say people can use this as a tactic to hurt business in an area. Nordwall says the nature of the calls can determine how serious of charges a suspect will face.
“There are serious penalties. Some of the inter-state threats carry a 5 year max penalty. If you throw in an explosive device, it goes goes up quite a bit.”