Police warn of new social media prank clogging up 911 lines

Police warn of new social media prank clogging up 911 lines

IT

Sergeant Adrian Page with Lonoke police said he's seen more and more posts on social media suggesting iPhone users tell Siri to call 108 as a prank.

Anchorage police instructs iPhone users to avoid telling Siri to "call 108", because it will dial the 9-1-1 emergency line, instead. So in the same way that an American calling 911 in the United Kingdom will connect to that region's 999 emergency number, giving Siri the number 108 will result in an automatic call to 911 in the states.

Police departments say the prank calls can lead to a backlog in the system, preventing people with real emergencies from getting through. But local emergency dispatch centers would be notified if the phrase is spoken. "A person may try to rely on local individuals or a phonebook for emergency services or consular services information while overseas, but such assistance may not be readily available when an emergency does occur".

"Hold down your home button, tell Siri '108.' Close your eyes and wait", tweeted one user.

"Calling emergency services in five seconds", is what you'll hear from Siri if you call 108. And lo and behold, after just five seconds, they end up talking to a 911 operator, asking them about the nature of their emergency. In fact, Page said that prank calling 911 is considered illegal and unsafe since it diverts life-saving resources. That is because these numbers connect a caller with emergency services in other countries.

Sheriff officials warned that these pranks tie up emergency lines and delay response time - which could mean the difference between life or death - for people who are in actually need of help.

  • Terrell Bush