— March 02 , 2023
Nebraska Information Analysis Center
4600 Innovation Drive
Lincoln, NE 68521
Toll Free: 888.580.6422 / Phone: 402.479.4049
Product ID Number: NIAC-2023-4374-32
“Swatting” Hoaxes Disrupt Schools Across the Country
Released: 27 February 2023
The NIAC is releasing this bulletin to provide situational awareness to the education sector regarding a national trend of false school shooting and bombing threats.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received nearly 6,000 reports of threats against schools in 2022, which is a 60% increase from 2021. Additionally, schools nationwide have reported an increase in hoax threats. These hoax calls are referred to as swatting. Swatting is a word that is used to describe calls that falsely claim an active shooting is underway or that a bomb has been placed in the school. These calls are designed to trigger the immediate and widespread deployment of armed law enforcement to a specific site. These types of calls will most likely continue throughout the 2023 school year.
Five Nebraska schools have experienced swatting threats in 2022. To date in 2023, schools in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, and Vermont have been targeted.
These threats typically are called into law enforcement communications centers and not the actual targeted school. Similarities in these hoaxes include:
• The use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which allows the caller to easily mask their identity and location.
• The caller uses a foreign accent or mock foreign accent.
• The caller states a specific number of victims, weapons used, and on-site location. The caller may mispronounce school names or locations, or reference non-existent classroom numbers.
• The caller feigns a sense of urgency, either presenting themselves as a witness hiding in a classroom during an active attack, or a perpetrator walking up to the location armed with a firearm and/or explosives.
The NIAC encourages school and district administrators to network with local public safety partners to discuss current school safety protocols.
Please report any suspicious activities and behaviors to the NIAC at 888-580-6422 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by submitting a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) online at https://sars.nebraska.gov/