When gaming online, most interactions you will have will be fairly harmless in nature. However, there are also a lot of pranksters and plenty of people looking for trouble online. They want to get a rise out of you, or simply do something to make you angry, scared, or uncomfortable.
The one unfortunately common tactic they will use is swatting. This involves them tricking police forces into sending heavily-armed teams to a person’s home, which can be traumatic and dangerous for everyone involved.
While swatting can happen to anyone and for any reason, it is often done to gamers. This could be someone targeting a streamer, to someone targeting someone they disagreed with online. Some people might even just target someone at random.
Thankfully, there are some things you can do to ensure you aren’t faced with this uncomfortable and terrifying situation. Without any further ado, let’s go over how you can protect yourself from swatting.
Use a VPN
One of the best ways to protect yourself from swatting is to use a gaming VPN. VPNs (virtual private networks) encrypt all of your internet traffic and hide it from those who may want to learn about it. Not only that, but a VPN can also shield your physical location, so that people won’t be able to swat you.
VPNs are readily available today and are very affordable and easy to use, so there is no reason not to try one out. In addition to protecting you from swatting, VPNs have other benefits like bypassing blocks and filters, accessing geo-restricted content, and generally enjoying a more secure experience on the internet.
Don’t Post Private or Sensitive Information Online
In order to swat you, someone needs to know your address, so they can make the false report to authorities. As a result, one of the best ways to keep your home safe from being swatted is to avoid posting private information online. If you make these private parts of your life public, you never know what people may do with the information.
Swatters can use your address, your approximate area, a picture of the outside of your home, or even the geotagging on social media photos in some cases, so be very careful with what you post online.
Also, in a similar vein, ensure any screen names you use on video game platforms don’t feature your real name. People can learn a lot about you based solely on your name, so be careful when choosing a username from Steam, PSN, Xbox Live, and others.
Join an Anti-Swatting Registry
Another way to protect yourself is by joining an anti-swatting registry. These are resources that can allow residents to alert the authorities that their address is vulnerable to these kinds of attacks, which may lead police to enter the home with more caution and less urgency.
These types of registries generally aren’t only for swatting, but also for other things that people may want authorities to know such as that they are blind or deaf. While more and more of these types of registries are popping up, there are no guarantees that your city will have one.
If they don’t, but you are concerned about being swatted for one reason or another, it couldn’t hurt to reach out and see if they can do anything to calm your fears. While the chances of anyone actually being swatted are quite low, it can never hurt to be prepared and try to do all you can to stop it from ever happening.
In conclusion, we hope that this article has been able to help you learn how to protect yourself from being swatted.