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"Swatting" - The end of the Online feel-good story

Over the last couple of years, I've read stories about how playing games online has prevented somebody from committing suicide, prevented a potential high school shooting, and stuff like that.

These are wonderful stories about how, despite being sequestered in our living rooms in front of the TV, gaming can also be considered part of society. These are our friends we're playing with, even if we've never met them. Even if you're just playing random strangers, as happens quite often, you still have that connection from the game that you all love playing. It's this kind of camaraderie that triggers things like the above stories.

I know there have been negative stories of online abuse as well, but those can happen with any online presence and are not restricted to gaming. Thus, they're not often talked about when online gaming is discussed.

But perhaps that may be ending.

According to the Eugene Register Guard (h/t: GamrFeed), the exact opposite of the feel good story has happened.

Apparently, two gamers were having a dispute over one gamer refusing to turn over some material he created for a game called FortressCraft to the other gamer. They got into an argument over the whole thing. (I've never even heard of FortressCraft, but that's neither here nor there)

The latter guy got so pissed off that he called 911 and told them that the first guy had killed his father and was about to kill himself. Fourteen police officers showed up and discovered that the whole thing was a hoax.

Apparently, this isn't as uncommon as it sounds. I know I haven't read much about this, and I've never heard the term "Swatting" before in relation to this. Maybe because this is one of the first ones to result from gaming, rather than some other kind of Internet dispute?

"For the past several years, cybercriminals have settled scores with foes by “swatting” — the name given to a telephone scheme that involves calling 911 to fake an emergency that could draw a police SWAT team response.

Swatters often manipulate computer and phone equipment to make it appear that a fake emergency call is coming from a victim’s home or business. That’s basically what led to Monday night’s police response to Riveria Village, McLaughlin said."

Somehow this guy got the victim's name, address, and phone number, and was able to arrange this. They don't think they'll ever catch the guy, though the victim is starting his own investigation.

I would think his Xbox Live gamertag would be a good place to start, but that could very well be fake.

They didn't release the victim's name, which is why this post is full of "this guy" and "the other guy" references.

Is this another warning about revealing too much of yourself online?

I would think so.

It also tells me that, if you get into a dispute while gaming, it's usually best to just walk away and block them rather than engaging them (within reason, of course).

I hope the victim is able to turn up something.

 

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