FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police have arrested a person in Washington State who played a role in an online link that dialed 911 continuously without the phone user’s consent.
A young woman from Fort Lauderdale, who was a victim after clicking on a link she received via Twitter, Tuesday, told 7News how her phone incessantly called police despite her trying to hang up.
Broward Sheriff’s Office said they received about 20 calls the night the link went viral that day. According to Police in Washington State, it turned out that a teen in their area shared the link, and they charged him for his actions, Friday.
“It physically just looked like 911 calling,” said the victim, Andrea Jara. “It was a black screen, and it kept saying 911, 911, and every single time you click end, it was recalling, calling, calling. There was no way to stop it.”
Washington State Police said 18-year-old Gavin Hasler shared the bad link the same night. “A young kid, maybe thought it was funny. It obviously was not,” said Thurston County 911 Communications spokesperon Wendy Hill. “It could have impacted someone with a real emergency and that should be the message out there: 911 isn’t a joke.”
According to officials, Hasler did not create the hoax. He told police that a friend sent him the link, and he just shared it.
The Thurston County 911 Call Center was bombarded by calls, and the teen now faces a felony charge.
Jara, along with others, fell for the prank that bombarded 911 call centers across the United States. “It shows that I called them over 150 times,” Jara said.
BSO said they hope Twitter users will learn from Jara’s mistake and not click on any strange links.
“We want to make sure we’re not clogging up the 911 system with non-emergencies,” said Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright. “If you find that mistakenly you do click on the link, then we’re asking you to turn your device off for a short period of time. Then, hopefully, you’ll be able to break that link up and your phone will stop.”
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