The Sheriff’s office of Harris County, Texas has posted a message on its official Facebook page, pleading with people not to fall for a social media prank in which they’re encourage to say “108” to Siri.
That’s because the number prompts Siri to dial 9-1-1, or the emergency phone number of whichever country they are in at the time.
“The Harris County Sheriff’s Office, along with Texas NENA, are encouraging iPhone users NOT to test the ‘108’ command,” reads the message. “This viral prank is becoming increasingly popular on social media, with various speculation as to what the command does. The command, in fact, will instruct Siri to call emergency services, which could potentially tie up emergency lines.”
The reason the 108 code dials emergency services is because it is India’s equivalent of 9-1-1. To protect iPhone users, Apple embedded various international emergency numbers into Siri, with the numbers redirecting to whatever your local number may be. That means that saying “9-1-1” in the U.K. will dial the equivalent number 9-9-9, even if a visitor didn’t know that.
Unfortunately, 108 isn’t particularly well known by Texas youths, apparently, which is why it’s turned out to be fairly easy to trick people into dialing it. Saying the number does give you a few seconds to cancel the call, but evidently enough people aren’t doing this that it’s causing a problem.
As it turns out, “wasting police time” may just be Siri’s latest skill. And one it really shouldn’t be too proud about.