KATY, Texas - A prank put a Cinco Ranch teen in a very dangerous position; his home was surrounded by police who got a call about a standoff. Turns out, it just was a hoax, a new crime trend called "swatting," that someone else put in motion.
Precinct 5 deputy constables surrounded the house after a 911 call. The caller claimed to be an 18-year-old who'd just shot his mother and was planning to turn the gun on himself.
No one answered when the deputies tried to call him back, but they did track down the boy's mother. She was very much alive, headed home from a visit to the doctor.
"I said, 'That's got to be somebody else. That's not my son, because I know my son,'" said Cynthia Kaiser.
Her son, James Alvis, was in fact asleep inside the home. He awoke to find patrol cars surrounding the house and messages on his phone urging him to come out.
"I finally went outside with my hands up. I saw all these cops rush up," Alvis said.
He didn't make the call. Deputies determined it was all a hoax, a practice known as swatting. A hacker stole personal information from an internet site and then used it to make a phony 911 call via Skype.
It's the same method used back in May by six hackers to phone in bomb threats to Angleton High school.
In recent months, celebrities have been targeted by swatters, including Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake and Clint Eastwood.
"This is a terrible joke. I don't think it's funny at all," said Kaiser.
"He wrote to this guy, that guy. He wrote it to that guy too, so he wrote it to everybody I know on Skype," said Alvis.
He later discovered whoever swatted him used his contacts list to collect an audience to watch as it happened. And then left him an email bragging about it.
"I wouldn't think something like this would happen to me," he said.
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