Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is announcing a campaign to educate the public on the consequences of posting hoax threats to schools and other public places and reminds communities that these hoax threats are not a joke.
In the aftermath of tragic shootings such as the ones at Santa Fe High School in Texas and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the FBI and law enforcement around the country often see an increase in threats made to schools and other public forums.
The FBI and our partners follow up on every tip we receive from the public and analyze and investigate all threats to determine their credibility. Federal, state, and local law enforcement then employ a full range of tools to mitigate those threats that are deemed credible. Making false threats drains law enforcement resources and cost taxpayers a lot of money. When an investigation concludes there was a false or hoax threat made to a school or another public place, a federal charge could be considered, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. If a federal charge is not warranted, state charges can be considered.
Informational graphic depicting a cell phone texting conversation that states the fact that making hoax threats against schools and other public places is a serious federal crime.
Public assistance is crucial to our efforts to curb these hoax threats. We ask that the public continue to contact law enforcement to report any potential threats or suspicious activity. If there is any reason to believe the safety of others is at risk, we ask that the public immediately reach out to their local police department by calling 911, or contact the FBI via tips.fbi.gov or over the phone (1-800-CALL-FBI). As always, members of the public can call their nearest FBI field office to report a tip.
Early intervention can prevent a situation from escalating by identifying, assessing, and managing the threat. Remember, if you see something, say something. Hoax threats are not a joke, so think before you post.