May 25 2012
- “Swatting”–spoofing the target’s phone and placing a call to 911 which is intended to harass or kill the target. (Skype and internet proxies can make it difficult for the police to trace the actual call). The perpetrator pretends to be the target and claims to 911 that he has just killed somebody and probably tries to sound as disoriented/crazy as possible. The police will send out a SWAT team to make an arrest, and the SWAT team is more likely to fatally react to the slightest false move if they think they are dealing with a lunatic. In a superhero story, swatting might also involve false claims of superpowers–if the police believe they are dealing with a psychic killer, their trigger fingers will probably be especially itchy. (Alternately, the police would probably be more likely to shoot first if they think the target has superspeed, illusions, or any other power which would rapidly thwart a squad of police officers).
- Many journalists would probably hesitate to cover a case against somebody who “swatted” the last guy to try.
- If a perpetrator has been arrested for a particular crime, he/she could have an associate commit a similar crime (or pay another criminal to do so). If the cases are uncannily similar (e.g. sharing operational details far beyond what a copycat criminal would have access to, like bombs made in exactly the same way), this might raise questions for law enforcement about whether the person they’ve arrested for the original crime is actually guilty.
- Workplace intimidation. A perpetrator, particularly someone who has committed violent felonies before, may be able to scare a boss into firing the target by threatening to attack the target’s workplace. (This is the inciting event of The Taxman Must Die). Failing that, making false accusations to the target’s boss and/or coworkers or planting evidence against the target might work.
- Harassment, particularly against family. An experienced superhero would probably be harder to faze than, say, Aunt May or Mary Jane. (Also, superheroes are generally used to rough treatment, but might not feel comfortable subjecting their family and/or friends to it).
- Revealing and/or threatening to reveal embarrassing or damaging information or, failing that, making up damaging information. Embarrassing information might come from medical records, psychiatric files, divorce records, legal/criminal records, emails, sensitive case details for a superhero (particularly on cases that went sour), anything related to the superhero’s secret collaborators (e.g. criminal informants or Sgt. Gordon), etc.
- Frivolous lawsuits, especially against anybody implying that the perpetrator is allegedly committing this crime. In particular, during the discovery process of a lawsuit, the villain’s lawyers would push for information about superheroes which could be damaging (e.g. information that would compromise the secret identity and/or assist harassment or sabotage, such as a list of WayneTech facilities).
- Identity thieves with exceptional hearing could modulate their voices to impersonate others on the phone. One blind hacker severely abused AT&T customer records (such as credit card information) by impersonating supervisors.