Image: Anderson Cooper 'Swatted' as Celebrity 911 Hoax Hits East Coast

Anderson Cooper 'Swatted' as Celebrity 911 Hoax Hits East Coast

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 10:58 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Anderson Cooper was "swatted" Tuesday night, becoming the first East Coast celebrity to fall victim to the prank call craze that originated in Hollywood and has already involved multiple A-list celebrities.

Swatting involves prank callers making a false report of violence that warrants an immediate SWAT-like response from authorities to a celebrity's home.

In Cooper's case, police were given a bogus report that a man had shot his wife inside the CNN host's home, the New York Post reported.

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The hoax triggered a response from four different municipal police stations, leading to the quartering off of Cooper's Southampton Town house.

Upon entering the home, authorities immediately learned they had been duped.
The 45-year-old Cooper was not home at the time.

Other A-list celebrities that have fallen victim to "swatting" hoaxes include Tom Cruise, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Ryan Seacrest.

The hoax dates back to at least 2008 when the FBI first warned about the threat.

ID spoofing is a common swatting tactic in which an individual, using a website or app, is able to gain access to a person's voicemail and subsequently place a call, generally to 911, that appears to be originating in the victim's home.

"The service manipulates the phone system. It essentially tells the caller ID that another number is calling you," Robert Siciliano, an online security expert with McAfee, told the Daily News. "The fact that it’s not being used more widely is surprising."

Siciliano was specifically discussing a case involving former "Today Show" host Katie Couric.

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Earlier this year police responded to Couric's Manhattan residence several times in the early morning hours after receiving 911 calls from a phone number still registered to her late husband, Jay Monahan.

Authorities later determined the 911 calls were the result of faulty wiring.

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