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911 call reporting hostage situation determined to be "swatting"

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NORTH PORT, FL (WWSB) - Natalya Kalanich got a rude awakening Wednesday morning. North Port Police escorted her from her home, fresh out of the shower.

"I was sitting at home on my lanai, just took a shower," Kalanich said. "They asked me who's in the house, are there any weapons? I don't own any weapons. That's when the SWAT team moved in and swept out my house."

It began with a phone call to 911 dispatch. A mans voice had an ominous message.

"Some masked men had machine guns and had a hostage inside a home," said North Port P.D.'s Josh Taylor.

What took everyone by surprise was where the 911 call came from. It was Kalanich's number… but she didn't place the call.

"I've never heard of someone getting swatted. That's the first I had heard of it from police officers and they told me it's actually common," Kalanich said.

Swatting, as it's called, is when someone clones a phone number and reports a fake crime. Neither the police or the victim know whats happening. In this case, the FBI is now involved.

"There's a lot of tracing and background. There's spoofing apps and things like this that really need some forensic science," said Taylor.

In some cases, swatting is done as a prank. There have been stories of online gamers doing it… but Kalanich worries if something more sinister is behind the call.

"What if in this scenario somebody called just to find out what's the response to that area from police officers?" Kalanich said.

Harrison Best is a phone and computer expert. He says using someone's phone number against them, sadly, isn't a tough thing to do. "Someone can program something or through an app or coding. If they know your information, if they have your number anything's possible really… at this point."

North Port Police and the FBI are working to track down the original caller... if they do, that person could be arrested.

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