Anderson Cooper is the latest swatted victim of the craze, which happens when someone calls the police and tells the 911 operator that the celebrity is in trouble.
It’s the first incident outside Los Angeles when police rushed to the CNN anchorman’s home last month after a false report about a shooter.
Cooper, 45, wasn’t home when cops arrived at his Southampton Townhouse to find nothing amiss, even though a caller said a man had just shot his wife there.
Justin Timberlake, Ryan Seacrest, Rihanna, Tom Cruise and a host of other celebrities have all been “swatted,” in which 911 callers report fake emergencies prompting SWAT teams and other first responders to arrive at people’s homes.
The Los Angles Police announced last month that they would no longer issue press releases about “swatting” incidents at celebrity homes, so as not to encourage copycat perpetrators.
Swatting has become increasingly popular in 2013, however, it has been widely condemned as being dangerous and terrifying for celebrities involved in the practical jokes.
Just in January, actor Tom Cruise was swatted after a fake 911 call was placed stating that an armed robbery was in progress at the Hollywood actor’s home in California.
Police were immediately dispatched to the residence to deal with the reported emergency. However, when they arrived at Cruise’s mansion, they quickly discovered that the reports were false and that Cruise had been the victim of swatting.
In the Cruise incident, the actor and his family were also not at home when police arrived, but his private security staff were on the scene.
Swatting occurs when pranksters made an anonymous call to the police explaining that a terrifying situation is unfolding at a celebrity’s residence, such as, they have been taken hostage, or that a shooting was taking place.