School hoax calls part of a larger trend across the country

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WDEF) – The TBI continues to investigate who is responsible for hoax phone calls yesterday.

But it’s a much larger problem than just the hoax involving Brainerd High on Wednesday.

The calls targeted at least eight school systems across Tennessee.

And the TBI acknowledges that Tennessee was not the only state hit by the calls.

In fact, “Swatting calls” (fake reports that call out SWAT teams) have been a growing problem across the country for months.

The FBI has gotten involved as a result.

Over the last month, New York, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Missouri have all been targeted.

No one officially keeps numbers on such fake school threats.

But some national agencies have their own running counts:

Educator’s School Safety Network: 384 false shooting reports in 2023

The National Association of School Resource Officers: 42 states have seen hoax calls since September.

FBI investigations have led them to conclude that some are actually originating outside the U.S.

And new technology that makes it easier to remain anonymous is helping them.

An NPR investigation claims that the carrier TextNow was used to make some hoax calls last fall that originated in Ethiopia.

That’s why some tech experts are saying we need to focus on the carriers, like TextNow, which require little verification to use.

And that could take Congressional action to create penalties for the companies to make them responsible for the type of traffic on their networks.

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