Apple repair center linked to flood of false 911 calls

Emergency dispatchers say they've received about 1,600 false alarm calls from the California center in the past few months.

Emergency dispatchers have received a flood of false 911 calls from an Apple repair center in Elk Grove, California.
Jason Cipriani/CNET

Having your smartphone repaired may hold some urgency to you, but it doesn't constitute an emergency.


Emergency dispatchers in California's Sacramento County tell CBS Sacramento they've seen an influx in recent month of false alarm 911 calls, and the source appears to be an Apple repair center in nearby Elk Grove.

"We're able to see quickly where the call is coming from, so when we get one from Apple, the address will come up with their location," Police dispatcher Jamie Hudson told the station.

The Elk Grove Police Department says it receives an average of 20 false 911 calls each day from the Apple center, adding up to about 1,600 since October.  Hudson says the phony calls take attention away from calls that could be real life-and-death emergencies.

"The times when it's greatly impacting us is when we have other emergencies happening and we may have a dispatcher on another 911 call that may have to put that call on hold to triage the incoming call," he said.

Apple introduced a feature with iOS 11 that makes it easier to call for help if you find yourself in an unsafe situation. Emergency SOS will call contacts and local emergency services after the sleep/wake button is pressed five times in rapid succession.

Apple said it's looking into the matter.

"We're aware of 911 calls originating from our Elk Grove repair and refurbishment facility," the company said in a statement. "We take this seriously and we are working closely with local law enforcement to investigate the cause and ensure this doesn't continue."

Security: Stay up-to-date on the latest in breaches, hacks, fixes and all those cybersecurity issues that keep you up at night.

Blockchain Decoded: CNET looks at the tech powering bitcoin -- and soon, too, a myriad services that will change your life.