Swatting (v.): the criminal act of prank calling 911 to report an emergency on a famous person’s home.
It’s called that because SWAT teams are often called to the scene, only to find out when they arrive it was all a ruse. Swatting drew national attention last year when conservative blogger Erick Erickson fell victim to a swatting incident. According to Erickson, a caller claiming to be him claimed that the RedState blogger had shot his wife and was planning on shooting someone else.
The vicious pranking has now made its way to the Hollywood, as just last week four A-listers fell prey to the act. In fact, it’s become such a problem that a California state senator has even proposed legislation to combat the problem.
Here are 10 victims of swatting that you might recognize.
1. Justin Bieber
Last October, police responded to a report that an armed man was inside Bieber’s home only to find it was all a hoax.
2. Justin Timberlake
A 911 caller said he saw four black men break into Timberlake’s home and heard gun shots this past Friday.
3. Ashton Kutcher
“Two and a Half Men” star Ashton Kutcher has been a victim of several swatting attacks. Last month, a 12-year-old confessed to swatting both him and Justin Bieber. In October 2012, the local police received a call that armed men had broken into Kutcher’s house and held some workers at gunpoint, only to confirm later on that the actor wasn’t home at the time.
4. Tom Cruise
Back in January, a 911 caller claimed he witnessed an armed robbery at Cruise’s home.
5. Selena Gomez
Last Friday, a caller claiming to be Gomez called 911 and reported that her father had shot her mother and was still at her home threatening to burn her house down.
A 911 caller claimed two armed men broke into Rihanna’s home and someone was shot just this past Thursday.
7. Chris Brown
For once, Chris Brown was actually innocent. On Jan. 21, a prank caller cleverly reported witnessing domestic abuse at the artist’s home. But while this wouldn’t be the first time Brown has been accused of domestic abuse, this time his hands were clean. He wasn’t even at the supposed scene of the crime.
8. Sean “Diddy” Combs
On April 3, a 911 caller claimed someone has been shot in Sean Combs’ home. Two helicopters and several police cars were sent to investigate the scene and even searching the home of Combs’ next-door neighbor, actor Steve Carell, only to find it was all a prank.
9. Miley Cyrus
Last August, a dozen police officers and firefighters responded to a prank call that a kidnapping and shooting had occurred at Cyrus’ home.
10. Simon Cowell
It’s hard to feel sympathy for the “X Factor” judge, but still calling 911 and claiming that the Brit was being held hostage is not a funny joke. Police found Cowell safe and sound at his home after responding to a false alarm last November.