A prankster in California used a falsely-registered cellphone to tie up the 911 system in Salt Lake City, Utah with 617 calls between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Nov. 2, The caller never spoke but wasted hours of phone time for dispatchers, who do not hang up until the caller hangs up.
Fortunately, the calls occupied just one dispatcher at a time and did not leave any legitimate callers on hold.
“Swatting” — prank-calling 911 — is usually accomplished in one of two ways. Disconnected cellphones are required by federal law to be equipped for 911 calls, leaving the number unlinked to any person. Pranksters also use Voice over Internet Protocol, which enables a user to register a number to a fake name at a fake address.
Last Tuesday’s calls were traced to California, but they were made on a number apparently registered to a fake identity at a Salt Lake City address.
In summer of 2009, a Salt Lake City schoolgirl made thousands of 911 calls over three or four months, taunting dispatchers and claiming she would never be caught. An officer traced the disconnected number to a cell tower in the girl’s neighborhood and interviewed residents with children until the caller was found.
(info from The Salt Lake Tribune)