By Leah Asmelash, CNN
(CNN) — The 16-year-old gamer who just won $3 million at the Fortnite World Cup was the victim of a “swatting” attack while he was live-streaming.
On Saturday, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf was streaming a round of Fortnite on the video platform Twitch from his Pennsylvania home when he suddenly left the screen. Spectators were concerned and confused until Kyle’s voice came from off-camera.
“I’ve been swatted,” he said.
Swatting is a potentially deadly prank in which someone calls the police and tells them that an urgent and violent crime has occurred at their target’s location. The idea is to lure a SWAT team or other response team to the person’s house.
When Kyle came back to the livestream, he said the SWAT team had come in with guns.
The situation was defused, he said, when one of the responding officers, who lived in the neighborhood, recognized Kyle.
Last month, Kyle made the national news when he won the largest-ever payout for a single player in an esports tournament.
The police department in Upper Pottsgrove Township said it is investigating the incident but gave no other details.
Authorities have come down hard on this type of activity because it can have very real consequences.
In 2017, Andrew Finch was fatally shot by police in Wichita, Kansas, who had been sent to his home. Tyler Barriss, the California man who made the hoax call, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. That swatting had arisen from a dispute between two gamers in an online “Call of Duty” tournament — but the man who had engaged Barriss to make the call mistakenly gave him the address of Finch, who had no involvement in the matter.
SWAT teams have no way of knowing whether a call is a hoax, which is why these situations can be so dangerous.
The calls are typically done by the computer-savvy, people like hackers and gamers.
No federal anti-swatting laws exist, but charges like wire fraud or obstruction of justice can typically be applied. In April, a 17-year-old was charged with 40 felony and 33 misdemeanor delinquency charges in Ohio after making a number of prank swatting calls.Full article