Some pranks are funny, like covering a toilet bowl with plastic wrap or taping the handle of the water sprayer in a kitchen faucet. Others, not so much. Falling into the "others" category is an online prank attempting to trick iPhone owners into engaging Siri, the virtual digital assistant built into iOS, in a way that could land them in jail.
Police warn of social media posts instructing iPhone owners to ask Siri about the number 108 if they want a good laugh. However, issuing the command is no laughing matter. The number 108 is India's version of dialing 9-1-1 in the United States to obtain emergency services. Apple programmed Siri to recognize emergency service numbers from all corners of the globe.
Issuing the 108 command, as the prank encourages, will in fact instruct Siri to dial up an emergency service. The same goes for other numbers used in different parts of the world, including 999, 112, 110, and 000.
"The 9-1-1 Communications Division tested these numbers and can confirm that dialing or asking Siri about any of these numbers will result in a call being placed to the emergency communications center," an Oregon sheriff's department said in a statement.
The prank isn't just an annoyance for local law enforcement, it's also dangerous as it can tie resources needed for actual emergencies. Beyond that, it's criminal in some states.
Various law enforcement agencies in different states have begun posting warnings on social media in an attempt to counteract the prank.