Engel Re-Introduces Anti-Swatting Act

Engel Re-Introduces Anti-Swatting Act 

Congressman Eliot Engel today re-introduced the Anti-Swatting Act, a bill that would enhance penalties for people who falsify their caller ID information to mislead law enforcement.

“Just this morning, another serious incident of swatting occurred – this time at the home of Parkland survivor David Hogg. People who pull these dangerous ‘pranks’ are sick and need to be held financially and criminally responsible for their actions,” Engel said.

“Swatting” is the act of deceiving law enforcement by using falsified caller ID information to incite them to respond to a nonexistent emergency. Named for the SWAT teams that are frequently deployed in response to these phony emergency calls, swatting can cost taxpayers thousands of dollars every time a SWAT team is deployed, according to the FBI.  

Swatting also risks injury to the unassuming victims who are present when law enforcement arrives at the supposed crime scene, as well as to the hardworking officials who rush to the scene anticipating danger. The act also illegitimately occupies law enforcement’s time, creating the risk that they will be unable to respond to an actual, life-threatening emergency in a timely fashion.

This past December, our nation experienced its first fatal swatting attack when a 28-year-old father of two in Wichita, Kansas was shot by police who were duped into thinking that they were responding to a hostage situation.

The Anti-Swatting Act seeks to curtail these hoaxes by enhancing penalties for people who falsify their caller ID information, a technological trick known as “spoofing,” with the intent of misleading law enforcement. In addition, the bill would force swatters to reimburse the emergency services that squander finite resources while responding to the false emergency.

“Multiple swatting incidents have occurred in and around my district, and each one puts innocent civilians and our brave first-responders at risk, while wasting time and tax dollars. In response, I am re-introducing the Anti-Swatting Act to make clear that this type of behavior is dangerous and criminal,” Engel said. “My bill will increase penalties for this despicable act, and hold the perpetrators accountablefor their actions. We need to do everything we can to combat swatting, and I encourage my colleagues to support this important measure.”