MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Murfreesboro police dispatched SWAT officers for a 911 call they later determined was a hoax.
Special Weapons and Tactics officers rushed to the scene, but found out there it wasn't an emergency.
Police departments nationwide are reporting similar incidents known as swatting. Callers try to get SWAT units to respond to their prank calls.
Nearly two dozens officers came out to investigate whether someone was injured during a crime on Fox Creek Drive.
Officers spent hours looking for a victim, but all they found was a hoax.
"Needless to say, these calls are dangerous to first responders and to the victims," according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Web site. "The callers often tell tales of hostages about to be executed or bombs about to go off. The community is placed in danger as responders rush to the scene, taking them away from real emergencies. And the officers are placed in danger as unsuspecting residents may try to defend themselves."
Callers manipulate the 911 system through spoofing technology to dispatch authorities because of fake emergency calls.
The FBI knows of 60 cities where this has happened including Dallas, Lake Forest, Calif., and Murfreesboro.
It is dangerous. Officers are made unavailable for other calls. It could cause traffic congestion and uneasiness throughout the community.
Most make the calls for bragging rights, but Murfreesboro police said some do it as a game. And if SWAT is called out, the callers supposedly get extra points for causing the ruckus.
In California, a so-called swatter got 30 months in jail for a hoax and had to pay $24,000 to police departments who responded.
"Law enforcement agencies at all levels are currently working with telecommunications providers around the country to help them address swatting activity," according to the FBI.