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‘Hey Siri, 108’: Police warn of prank circulating on social media

Among Siri's various skills is one designed to save lives – but police are now warning of pranksters trying to trick people into activating it.

Saying "Hey Siri, 108" will prompt Siri to contact emergency services. The number 108 is India's equivalent of 911 in the United States, but Siri will contact the local emergency dispatch based on the iPhone's location.

What may seem like a harmless prank to some could have potentially deadly consequences, police warn. Two recent deaths in Texas have been tied to scores of hang up-calls that overwhelmed the 911 system, leaving callers on hold, according to the Dallas News.

The Marshall Wisconsin Police Department posted this warning to Facebook:

"Siri calls 911 when you say "108" - Sorry. The result is a joke, but it's not very fun. Saying "Hey Siri, 108" will instruct Siri to call emergency services for you. The phone assistant will give users a five second time span to cancel or make the emergency call.

This prank is problematic because it uses resources that are vital for others trying to receive help in real emergency situations. Roughly 240 million calls are made to 911 in the United States each year and placing prank calls can be considered a crime."

Tweets like these prompted police departments across the country to warn about the prank in an effort to keep from further tying up the 911 operators people in crisis rely on:

After hearing "108," Siri will start a five second countdown during which the call can be canceled. Others are trying to trick people into not looking at their phones until it is too late:

In an effort to spread awareness, police departments in cities across the country are now posting warnings to Facebook to spread awareness: