POLICE officers in Barnsley are reminding residents that ‘swatting is no joke’ following a number of hoax reports over recent weeks.

Swatting is where the caller has reported an ‘incident’ in an attempt to get armed police officers to attend a property or location in what is initially believed to be a serious emergency.

This could be fake incidents where the caller might report a bomb threat, murder or a person being armed with weapons.

Police have reminded locals that making false allegations to the police is a ‘serious offence’.

‘Doxing’ is a term that is used to describe the action where information is obtained and broadcast, such as names, addresses and contact information, with the intent to harass or endanger the victim.

When you are online, whether you are gaming or using any digital platform where you may be communicating with people you may not know in real life, police are reminding people that not everyone is who they say or appear to be.

South Yorkshire Police’s Natalie Garrett said: “It may sound simple, but the easiest way to protect yourself online is by being careful around what information you share about yourself and your family.

“You never know where this information may end up or how it may be used, so it is important that people stay safe when online.”