Fake self-harm call made to Collier County Sheriff's Office; charges could follow

·2 min read

The person who made a fake call to the Collier County Sheriff's Office Sunday about someone threatening to harm themselves could end up with a misdemeanor charge.

A post on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page outlined the "spoofing" call made Sunday morning.

"... a person contacted us through 9-1-1 threatening to harm himself. Detectives responded and conducted a thorough investigation and determined that it was a spoofing/fraudulent call originating in Texas," the Sheriff's Office said in the posting.

The Sheriff's Office said detectives suspected the call was a "spoofing" or "swatting" from the outset but could not rule out that someone’s life was at stake without investigating.

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"Part of that investigative process included posting information and a photo the caller provided on social media and asking for the public’s help," the Sheriff's Office said. "The post was removed and archived as soon as detectives were able to determine that this call was a spoof."

Swatting is falsely reporting an emergency to public safety by a person for the intent of getting a SWAT team-like response to a site where no emergency exists.

The "spoofing" part of that is using software to make it appear they are local when, in fact, they could be almost anywhere.

The Sheriff's Office said it always takes every call seriously.

"Multiple agency resources were involved in responding to and investigating this call," the Sheriff's Office said. "Criminal charges will be filed if the person or persons responsible are identified."

The fake call could produce a misdemeanor charge though it could rise to a felony, according to the Florida statute dealing with such calls, depending on circumstances.

Connect with breaking news reporter Michael Braun: MichaelBraunNP (Facebook), @MichaelBraunNP (Twitter) or mbraun@news-press.com.

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: The call was handled as if it was a real incident, just in case

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