By Sonya Magett, EnStarz | Aug 02, 2012 09:10 AM EDT
Miley Cyrus became the latest victim of the hi-tech version of prank called swatting.
The Los Angeles Police Department rushed to the former Disney star's home after receiving 911 call of a home invasion and possible shots being fired at 6:50 PT on Wednesday, according to TMZ.
Cops arrived at her house with their guns drawn but found the home quiet with no one there and soon realized it was a prank call.
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According to Daily Mail, Cyrus is in Philadelphia visiting her fiance Liam Hemsworth who is currently shooting his next film "Paranoia."
LAPD told TMZ they believe the anonymous call was from a "911 abuser" committing a prank known as "swatting."
"Swatting" is a hoax where bogus 911 calls are made by tech-savvy computer hackers to emergency responders and law enforcement officials, such as a SWAT team.
Computer hackers perform "swatting" by taking advantage of the 911 system that was created in 1968. Emergency call centers cannot tell if the false call is coming from a computer phone line because the system was created before Internet connections were made. So the call cannot determined immediately if it is a hoax. The hackers are usually young and have the advance knowledge to penetrate the system and not get traced.
Anyone with voice-over-IP phones through an Internet connection can choose the phone number that the receiver will see on their caller ID. There are mobile apps and companies that offer ID spoofing services.
Swatters usually make the call appear to come from the home number of the intended target making them untraceable.
"This is a federal crime, and I'd say to these people that, if you persist pursuing this type of entertainment, it's just a matter of time before local and state authorities and the FBI come knocking on your door," said Kevin Kolbye, an FBI Assistant Special Agent in Dallas told North Jersey. Kolbye was in charge of the first federal swatting case in 2008. Since then, he has handled 100 other swatting disturbances.
TMZ was told that if the call to Cyrus' home turns out to be a confirmed prank, the hacker will be arrested.
A "swatter" can be hit with large fines and sent to federal prison if caught. A new federal law went into effect last year to curb the increasingly common prank. A 911 call abuser could be hit with felony charges if there is injury or death as a result of the false alarm, TMZ reports.
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