Reckless ‘swatting’ prank sends police to B.C. woman’s home
Published Wednesday, January 14, 2015 6:07PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 14, 2015 7:26PM PST
When B.C. Mounties showed up at Ashley Lynch’s home in Burnaby late Saturday night, she knew exactly what had happened.
Someone had called in a false police report using Lynch’s personal information, which was recently published on the website 8chan without her consent.
“They said they had reports that someone was concerned for my well-being and were very interested in whether I had firearms and explosives on the premises,” Lynch said.
The harassment tactic is called “swatting,” named for the SWAT teams that have been sent to U.S. victims in past incidents with guns drawn.
“It’s an elevated incident [to] incite hurt or death even through an accidental conflict. That’s the whole point of it,” she said. “It’s 100 per cent malicious.”
Fortunately, in Lynch’s case there were no close calls. The Mounties who responded to the call quickly figured out what had happened.
Staff Sgt. Maj. John Buis said false police reports are serious, and people should think twice before calling one in to prank or intimidate someone.
“It’s not a prank,” Buis said. “Somebody could get hurt inadvertently by doing this.”
Lynch said she was targeted simply for following a particular person on Twitter. 8chan users tried swatting him, according to Lynch, and when they couldn’t they turned on his followers instead.
Her personal information remains online and Lynch expects to be subject to more harassment, but she said she won’t be intimidated.
“They do this to try and make me feel afraid. That is the sole purpose of it, and I just won’t be intimidated into fear like that,” she said.
The RCMP said it hasn’t been able to track down the perpetrator yet. Anyone with information can contact the Burnaby detachment at 604-294-7922.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Maria Weisgarber