There are a number of tools that use the internet to connect people. One particular tool is called Skype which provides an online phone service for its customers. One Wisconsin man could be facing charges of internet crimes. He is currently the center of an investigation focused on Skype and prank calls.
At this point, it is reported that the young man used Skype to make hundreds of phone calls to a local Sheriff's Office. The dispatcher reported receiving calls regarding a number of incidents including gunshot wounds and children who had stopped breathing. The calls were treated as legitimate by the dispatchers who spent hours trying to sort through the prank calls.
When asked, the young man simply said that he made those calls out of boredom. There is no indication that he meant for it to do any harm to the dispatchers or officers. According to the county's cyber crime investigators, the young man used a program to disguise his voice when making the calls.
According to the article, the man would sometimes make calls every minute for several minutes. Dispatchers would send officers out to investigate the calls, sometimes requiring several officers to respond. A spokesperson for the county noted that sending out officers to investigate false reports prevented them from looking into legitimate issues.
It is unclear at this point what sort of penalties this young man could be facing, but a conviction could impact his future in ways that go beyond a prison sentence and community service. A criminal conviction may make it more difficult for him to find a job in the future. Currently the charges he could be facing would be using a phone to annoy and harass repeatedly.
Source: The St. Augustine Record online, "Man says he made prank calls to county," Justine Griffin, 18 May 2011