The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is issuing a warning to parents in North Carolina: be on alert for potential doxing and swatting incidents involving their children, particularly those who are active in online gaming communities.

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Just recently the FBI took to X (formerly Twitter) To warn about this growing issue. While anyone can be a target, the FBI went into deeper detail on people who are targeted more often. Stating,

especially LGBTQ+ youth, racial minorities, and those who struggle with a variety of mental health issues, such as depression and suicidal ideation

What is Doxing?

Doxing is the practice of publishing private or identifying information about a particular individual on the Internet, typically with malicious intent. The name derives from documents or docx, pointing to the documentation of personal details such as real names, addresses, phone numbers, or even Social Security numbers.

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What is Swatting?

Swatting, on the other hand, involves making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to dispatch a large number of armed police officers (SWAT) to a particular address. This potentially dangerous practice originated within online gaming communities but has since spread.

Be Cautious of Gaming and Social Media

The increasing popularity of online gaming platforms among children has unfortunately provided a conduit for potentially harmful behaviors. While many players game without issue, a small number of individuals use these platforms to intimidate, harass, or even seek revenge on their competitors through methods like doxing or swatting.

The increase in Doxing has been enough to prompt the Bureau to urge caution and heightened vigilance from parents. It is advised to regularly monitor their children's online activities and be alert for any signs of cyberbullying, including threats, intimidations, and revealing of personal information.

Several proactive measures that parents can take to safeguard their children from these dangers, include ensuring that gaming profiles are set to private, advising children not to share personal details online, and encouraging them to report any suspicious or threatening activity immediately.

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What To Do If You've Experienced Doxing

In addition to the safety guidelines, the FBI is urging victims of doxing or swatting to contact local law enforcement and the Bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center to report the incident.

This isn't just about protecting kids from annoyance or embarrassment. Doxing can lead to more serious forms of harassment, and swatting has the potential to turn deadly. It's important to take these matters extremely seriously and ensure that parents in North Carolina - and indeed, across the nation - are equipped with the knowledge to protect their children.

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