Hacker makes false report of shooting, causing deputies to force entry into home

Updated: Nov. 16, 2020 at 8:11 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Those doorbell cameras could be an open door for hackers. Lots of people use digital doorbells to see what’s happening at their homes when they’re away.

But several days ago, a homeowner’s system was hacked and it could have had tragic results.

The sheriff says it’s called “swatting," because it may cause a swat team to descend on a home. It happened several days ago at a house where nothing was wrong.

Even Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso uses the Ring Doorbell app to keep tabs on his property.

But at around 1:30 a.m. Friday, Mancuso says someone hacked into a family’s doorbell system and made deputies think someone had been shot.

“We get a call from someone who says they’re 13 years old, gives the name of the people who live there, and says he just shot and killed his father. So, we get there, we start giving verbal commands, commands over the speaker, knocking on the door. We actually see somebody crawling on the floor and we assume it’s the homeowner who’s been shot,” said Mancuso.

Mancuso says deputies burst through the door to possibly save someone’s life.

But it was all fake.

“Thank God the homeowner didn’t shoot back at us. A lot of things went through our minds. We get a call that somebody’s been shot, We’re trying to render aid to that person and help them and we tried ringing the home phone, we tried multiple things before we actually went inside the home, but it could have turned out much differently for all parties involved,” said Mancuso.

They don’t yet know who hacked into the system, but sheriff’s deputies and the FBI are investigating.

“We’re going to try to find out where this phone originated from and who did this and of course try to arrest them and get a warrant for their arrest,” he said.

The family involved does not want to be identified, but Mancuso says investigators have contacted Ring which offers tips to improve the system security.

“You need to have a double or dual identification, so this doesn’t happen. So, they have done some steps to protect you. You just need to make sure you follow those steps and do that. Look at your owner’s manual, look at your app settings,” he said.

For more on how to protect yourself from this sort of intrusion click here.

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