Inwood Couple Target Of Hundreds Of 911 Prank Calls

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the past two years, a Manhattan couple has opened their door hundreds of times for police or firefighters responding to emergency calls they never made.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reports a prankster has been calling 911 up to three times a day giving Mamadou and Assetou Sy’s address in the Dyckman Houses in Inwood.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon with Mamadou and Assetou Sy

“In less than six months, they got 200 calls,” Mamadou Sy said. “This is sickening.”

Police have showed up at the apartment for fake fires, fake gunshots and fake injuries.

They have not been able to trace the calls and Sy said he did not recognize the voice of the prankster on the 911 calls.

“I’m scared, my wife is scared, my daughter will go to the college and said she has nightmares, she can’t even study,” Sy said.

Sy said he and his wife came from Mali 17 years ago to live the American dream, and this is a nightmare.

Assetou said what upsets her most is seeing the emergency responders’ time wasted.

“I really feel sorry for them, I feel sorry for myself and my family, but I feel sorry for them,” she said.

The NYPD is continuing the investigation and police will continue to respond to each call.

Sound off in our comments section below…

  • Meme Meyagi

    what is done about 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa?

  • David Heath

    There are literally hundreds of sites devoted to encouraging prank calls which then put their ‘work’ on youtube and yet the police do nothing to arrest these people. In fact, it’s the latest fad to spoof calls to the police themselves.

  • Brent


    • nspear

      Just maybe someone wants them to move!
      The lady is an immigrant.

  • JimmyCarterJr

    And This is why Obama is the worst president ever. My gosh, Jimmy Carter part II…Barack OCarter!!

    • 卐 OBAMA 卐

      卐 OBAMA 卐

  • Chicago Nick

    I’m an 911 dispatcher in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs and I don’t understand why there wouldn’t be a running “ignore” standing order that could be authorized by the family to disregard any calls coming in with their address setting up a PIN between the center and the owners to be revealed only when THEY are the callers.

    For instance “This is the so and so residence and we have a 2255 Red Dog situation here” letting the dispatcher know it’s them. It would also cue them into the fake callers allowing them to do a cell trace when the fakes come in by keeping them on the phone.

    We have a similar thing where certain people in the area are known problems to the center, like illegal aliens and the likes and you’d think NYC would also. It just seems so easy to solve. When we have certain addresses come up there’s a ‘card’ that has previous calls to the home and the likes so you know the frequency of the calls from ‘problem residences’ and the cops are then alerted to these patterns.

  • Bill Tell

    This is terrible.

  • UhYeahThatsAgreatIdea

    Excellent journalism.

    Thanks for posting this story- now ANYBODY who wants to PRANK someone using a throway cell phone to call 911 KNOWS HOW TO DO IT!!!

    Great work, jerks!

    • NY9Solyndra

      Genius, do you REALLY think that knowledge like that was not available to anyone who wanted it? Sheesh, get a grip. This isn’t rocket surgery.

      • db_cooper

        I’ve been using RocketSurgery for years.. just like “he ain’t the sharpest bulb in the drawer”… mixing metaphors takes the boredom out of them… until of course everyone starts doing it. So DON’T.

      • Kristyn Kelly


      • Smitaay

        LOL, Rocket Surgery. I’m gonna use that. I’ll give you credit the first three times. After that, it’s mine. =D

      • JSmith

        Such a nice response… New Yorker.. right?

  • Tom Menino

    Funny watching the posts no here from those under the age of 30 trying to grasp a world where phones didn’t transmit huge blocks of data about the who where & when of the calling party. Or from those over 30 who are apparently suffering from early onset Alzheimers and forget that it wasn’;t long ago that you could connect to the world in true anonymity. Or from those of any age on here who suggested that the couple change *their* phone number. You guys should work in the space program. I mean, if we had one anymore.

    • Dudley Dooright

      The caller is giving their physical address, not their phone number so I’m not sure how changing their phone number will help

  • BHO

    It’s Bush’s fault.

    • NY9Solyndra

      Surely the plot also includes the Tea Party, Reagan, Cheney, Lincoln, and those wealthy white males who owned slaves and founded this country.

      • Robert H Crossman

        You forgot Karl Rove.


        • e-man69

          f*ing 1%

    • daviedave


  • Peter

    They need to set up a pin code, to be utilized in actual emergency, and ignore all other calls to that address….why don’t folks improvise!!!!!!!

    • Mike Notsaying

      pin code would exclude other people calling in an emergency

      • db_cooper

        family and close friends have the pin. if the criminal starts using it, then you have just narrowed your suspect / accessory list tremendously. time to start tapping THEIR phones and recording their conversations. play hardball. it’s the only answer for cases like these.

  • charlie brown

    the guy across the street from us was doing that (fake 911 calls) and he said he didn’t do it each time they came to his house. the swat team came out one time and put him in jail where he belonged. these people may be guilty also.

  • Problem solver

    Determine the general area where the calls are coming from, and explode a nuclear bomb in the area. Problem solved.

    • John Jayroe

      ♫ MacGruber!! ♫

  • Brian

    Inwood need to focus on this and clear it up asap. To have it to that excessive a level and do nothing but respond to the a bit ridiculous.

    • Freedomwriter

      While what is happening to this family is harassment (and puts other needing medical/ police intervention in jeopardy), let’s not overreact and say Inwood needs to focus on this issue. I lived in Inwood for 35 years, there are more pressing issues to worry about, like: drug dealers on the corner of Vermilyea and Academy, across from JHS 52; overcrowded public schools; sexual assaults in Inwood Park; even the condition of Inwood Park (specifically near Indian Road) every Sunday morning in the summer: baby diapers, beer bottles, garbage all over the place.

  • nyphonejacks

    swatting is a terrible thing to do… it not only wastes taxpayer dollars, but it also puts the public at risk… by the potential for an accident with responding emergency workers, as well as diverting emergency workers away from a possible legitimate call that they could be on their way to…

    it is a good thing that ANI is not as easy to spoof as caller ID, otherwise this would be a more widespread problem…

  • John

    While I feel sorry for the family and hope this stops, I hope that the person(s) behind it never get caught. Nice to pull one over on Big Bro Govt for a change instead of the other way around.

    • George Johnson

      You silly people….

      Either “John” is a troll, and you have been had, or….

      John pays no taxes anyway, so he’s happy.

      That’s one of the bad things about people not sharing in the tax burden. If you look at where the resources mostly, you’ll see that the people that normally pay the least amount of taxes, receive the MOST in taxpayer funded resources (police, ambulance etc….”) And that is why EVERYBODY should pay taxes, no matter how small.

      It helps prevent people like “John” from even existing.

    • Baillie

      In over 20 years in this house, we’ve called 911 numerous times. Once was a “kid” literally knocking the door down across the street and terrifying two elderly ladies, one of whom came screaming to our door; then several wrecks when someone has run the stop sign one house over; our own chimney fire; lightning striking a neighbor’s sweet gum and riding the phone line into the house; and more recently, for ambulances for me when my health crashed.
      I do NOT see these very needful services as some sort of prize in a political tug-o-war with the “guv’mint.”

      And if the day comes when that son of a skunk cabbage suddenly finds himself – or herself – on the inside of an ambulance with medics trying to keep him in this world – there might be a change of attitude, especially if the ambulance takes too long to get there because they’ve been busy answering his prank calls.

    • LTCB

      You’re a sick piece of human garbage sir/mam. And that’s the printable things I have to say on this. These first responders risk their lives EVERY time they go charging to a scene trying to help people. And, you think this is funny …???

    • jeff6times7

      John, you’re not making any sense. If he never gets caught, then the family never gets relief. It is true that A and !A can be true but not at the same time. I respectfully request you get some training in rhetoric.

    • Marsh

      Are you serious?? What a complete waste of resources. Somebody could’ve been hurt when the police or fire department was rushing to their house. Somebody could’ve lost their life because emergency responders were too busy going to fake calls and couldn’t make it them in time. This isn’t “putting it to the Big Bro Govt”, this a complete waste of time & taxpayer money.

    • SickofU


    • Mark America

      You think that’s pulling one over on Big Government? Sorry, but maybe you should reconsider, as each time Police, Fire, and EMS is dispatched, taxpayers pay more, and government’s justification for expansion grows.

      WAKE UP!

  • Eva

    My husbands partner was killed in an accident going to one of these phony calls these people should be found and prosecuted before it happens again

  • Carney Assada

    There is a simple solution to this problem. I’m surprised it hasn’t been implemented by 911 call centers throughout the country. In cases like this where repeated bogus 911 calls are a problem, the family needs to be issued a PIN that they would provide to give to the dispatcher when asked. It is up to the dispatcher to ascertain whether asking for the PIN is even necessary (would probably not be in the case of a young child caller) and whether or not to act on the call if the caller could not provide the PIN (in the case of a really panicked caller). Alarm companies have been using this technique for years to verify an alarm reset call or a safety-check callback.

    • Bill O

      Caller: Someone is shooting at my mom and dad.
      911: What’s your pin number?
      Caller: My what?
      911: Your pin number.
      Caller: I don’t remember.
      911: Thank you, call again.

      • Carney Assada

        If you request a PIN from local law enforcement because you are being the victim of many false 911 calls, they will give you stickers that you place on your telephone instruments that show your PIN. If you are not intelligent enough to understand how to look at your phone and give a PIN, then you need to be taken out of the gene pool. Actually, since you didn’t understand how this could work, YOU need to be taken out of the gene pool.

    • Bill O

      Caller: Someone is shooting at my mom and dad.
      911: What’s your pin number?
      Caller: My what?
      911: Your pin number.
      Caller: I don’t remember.
      911: Thank you, call again.

    • LaVonte d'Ashawn Jackson IV

      Problem solving is not part of a government union employee’s job description. How dare you expect them to think.

  • firstpoppa

    Someone in that 911 center has their head up their butt.

    1. Calling 911 should display the callers address and phone number
    2. A data entry on this address should inform a dispatcher of the crank calls
    3. The dispatcher could then call the home and verify the call

    Have they thought of checking out the people in the 911 center?

    • Mark America

      Not in all cases, particularly with cell phones. Without the ANI-ALI information tied to most landlines, you’re reliant on phase II wireless returns, which are frequently spotty. In a densely populated are, this could be nearly useless anyway.

    • LaVonte d'Ashawn Jackson IV

      Dude, have you tried to have logical conversation with a government bureaucrat? Do you REALLY think they are able to grasp the obvious? Since they pay very little taxes, they really could not care less. Their only concern is when is their next Newport break and what time do they get off.

      • confused reader

        I noticed your name the other day and I thought it was a joke. Now you are posting using it again? Is that a real name? If so, why do you fell the need to write all of that? How about just your first or first and last name? Or are you impersonating a person you don’t like?

        • bob

          i noticed that you’re a stupid c u n t who asks really stupid questions. is it because you’re stupid? or because you’re a c u n t?

          • LOL


    • padamil

      911 only shows callers address when dialed from a landline phone. Most cell phones only give an approximation, or they give the cell tower closest to teh caller. And there are many, many disconnected phones that will only dial 911. These do not show any contact information, even a phone number. I work in 911 dispatch and we get calls all the time with absolutely no contact information on them. If we get an incoming call from one of these phones, we have to rely on the caller to give address and phone number information.

      • schmuck281

        I have worked as a 911 dispatcher for 20 years. There should be a flag on the address letting dispatchers know that there have been a lot of prank calls regarding this location and giving contact info for the residents.

        The cell phone locators technology is getting better and better. I have used the locator of find people lost in the mountains as well as people that didn’t know where they were when calling for help. The accuracy is to within a couple of hundred feet in 90% + cases. Not totally accurate but pretty good.

        These calls should also be part of the shift briefing in the area that it is happening. I can’t speak to NYC but 911 dispatchers I have had contact with over the years are generally very sharp people.

  • Garr Obo

    Why don’t the dumba**es change their phone number or get a Tracfone? Geezz.

    • ed

      Gar Obo their not making the calls that makes you Dumba** es

    • USArmyCombatMedic


      Did you read that article and somehow come to the conclusion that the police were prank calling the homeowners? If so, you’re wrong.

      • Mark America

        Garr Obo, Admit it: You’re an Obama voter…

    • The Bruce

      Garr, how is changing their phone or phone number going to change anything?

      The prankster is phoning in anonymously and giving the 911 operator the victim’s STREET ADDRESS!!!

  • BP

    How about until they can find out who’s doing it…911 obtains the phone number of the people who actually live at the house and calls them to see if it’s for real? (once they hear that it’s once again their address they’d be going to) After all, it’s happened 200+ times now, does it take a brain surgeon to figure this out? If they call the actual people and there’s no answer, then respond. But at least put this in place to prevent the same thing from continuing to happen every single time the “prankster” calls 911! Is 911 supposed to be this stupid?

    • BP

      In fact, obtain every single means of contact to the actual people that is possible, including cell phone numbers. In this day and age, how can 911 say that they will continue to respond every time to something that’s already known to be a prank…rather than taking the obvious steps to prevent the continual unnecessary dispatch of police and medical personnel for a PRANK? (Even if they can’t find out who’s actually calling??) This has to be a joke.

    • espy

      The problem with that idea is that what happens when there is actually an emergency at the household. In an emergency there generally isn’t time to double check. Also for those people saying that they should be able to detect who is making the calls, that is extremely naive. A 911 call can come from any phone, not just the one you own. If these criminals are willing to make over 200 false reports I somehow doubt they’re less willing to steal a phone or use a pay phone to make them either. If they stop responding to the calls then if an emergency actually does happen they’ll be held responsible, and by the same token easily discovering who’s doing it is out since the criminals are most likely using different phones for every call.

  • James the IT guy

    They are not using a land line or even a cell phone, they are doing what is known as call spoofing via VOIP technology. If done through certain proxy services such as TOR it is virtually untraceable, regardless of warrants gotten. If the prankster knows the victims phone number they can even spoof that number. Personally if I wanted to catch this person I would have the victims change their number often and each time only give that number to a select group of people. If that number is the one being spoofed you can narrow it down.

  • jt

    It could also be a neighbor in the building who found their wire “available” some how. And simply tapped into the wire, somewhere out of site, maybe even in a adjoining wall. This would not be a shock is may apartments take the cheapest route possible throwing in wiring, walls, plumbing..etc.
    Bub, is right i used to work in a 911 center and ID cannot be blocked on a land line. It will appear the second the call connects, before the 911 dispatcher even picks up the phone.

    • ScottyGunn

      Yes, it can be blocked, there are scramblers you install on the line the second you pick up to dial, it sends dozens of numbers overwhelming the caller I’d system. I know this for a fact…

      • nyphonejacks

        911 uses ANI not caller ID.. and even if that was the case – what you are talking about is not technically possible.. any device that you have that will sent caller ID information connected to your phone will send the information only after the call is connected and your proper caller ID has already been received by the person you are calling

  • john

    Once a warrant is obtained then the police can have the local phone company provide a list of all incoming calls to the 911 centers and time match the recorded phone number to calls. Caller id block will stop the number from showing up for the 911 dispatcher but the phone system still sees it. At some point somebody will be standing before a judge trying to explain why they did this to these people.

    • mikey

      CallerID Block does NOT prevent the number from showing up for a dispatcher!! You don’t understand the system. CallerID block only prevents the number from being delivered to END CUSTOMERS. In fact, CallerID block does NOT prevent the number from showing up when you call any 800 toll free or 900 reverse charge number.

      But, if the caller is calling from a PBX that has not been programmed correctly, then the number may not be available. It can still be traced, but not as easily.

      And if the number came from the web through a spoofer, then it’s almost (but not totally) impossible to track. It’s just a question of how much money and resources you will throw at the problem.

  • Al Schork

    I think its Bushs’ fault…

    • Blah

      It’s getting old now. And LAME!

      • ed

        The little libs keep saying it

    • NY9Solyndra

      …and the Tea Party is involved, too!

  • William

    Odd, why didn’t they change their phone number after the first week?

    • Flashman1854

      It’s not their phone number that is the problem, THINK.

      Someone calls and says the emergency is at a certain address, in this case theirs. It has nothing to do with THEIR phone number.

      The news story states they have not been able to trace the number. Obviously if it was their number it would be traceable. In fact it wouldn’t need to be traced.

      Also, if someone were after this family moving wouldn’t solve the problem. The prank caller would just report an emergency at the new address.

      This is either an evil, deranged person. Just a run-of-the-mill deranged person. Or, someone who really hates this family.



        Its probably the latest organized crime wave, and the primary reason this country is GOING DOWN THE TUBES: GANGSTALKING!

        Look it up people. We have to stop being crooked and grow up and then this will stop growing. Till then, enjoy your reality game.

    • JamesB

      Your lack of critical thinking and downright silly question is what is odd.

    • NY9Solyndra

      Genius, changing their phone number wouldn’t make a bit of difference, since the calls are not coming from their home. You must be an Obama voter.

    • goat

      0118 999 881 999 119 7253

    • kmrod

      we depend on 911 not to change their number, no matter how many prank calls they get.

      • Mikey


        Sorry you’ve reached the wrong number, this is 91…..2.

    • Tarantula

      Because they weren’t calling the house but 911 and giving the address…

  • Andy Oakley

    Sounds like one of their neighbors is trying to encourage them to domicile elsewhere.

    • Another Target o Govt Fraud

      Don’t you mean the police protected Neighbor Hood Watch Gangstalkers?!

      They don’t seem to mind rolling out the fire trucks and rigs to play this game anywhere.

      Doesn’t cost them anything to play these power games. The bill goes to the taxpayers via Homeland Security Grant Money!

      This is what is bankrupting us. I wonder how much of a “bounty” each one of these perps gets each time they place a call and this family is bothered. Couldn’t be much if it happens three times a day.

      These ‘people” live on this pay after all. Far worse than any welfare recipient if you ask me!

  • Huh

    How can they not trace 200 fake calls??

    • Bub

      Exactly! In my professional telephone experience I can tell you that when you call 911, before you even hear a ring on the operators phone, your personal information appears on the operators screen. This is how they know you called even if they don’t have a chance to answer before you hang up.

      • Bub

        This assumes a land-line is used. Cell phones are another story.

    • Jack

      Probably coming from throw-away cell phones or pay phones.

      • Joe Bloe

        more likely from internet voice-over IP which is not easily traceable.

    • Mark In San Diego

      Could be an IP phone run through an anonymizer service.

      • Mark America

        Joe Bloe, it’s most likely a throw-away cell phone. anything with an IP address can be easily traced, and anonymizer sites offer no real protection.

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