May 24 (UPI) -- The FBI issued a stern condemnation of those who make hoax threats to public spaces Thursday, warning those acts could land people in prison.
The bureau launched a campaign called #ThinkBeforeYouPost to deter people from making phony threats. Law enforcement agencies "follow up on every tip we receive from the public and analyze and investigate all threats to determine their credibility," making it costly to taxpayers when those agencies are burdened by threats that aren't legitimate, the FBI said in a news release Wednesday.
Mentioning the fatal shootings at Santa Fe High School in Texas and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the FBI said law enforcement agencies commonly hear of more threats made to schools and public spaces after mass-casualty shootings.
A federal charge for someone making a false threat could result in a prison sentence of up to five years, the FBI said.
On a separate web page, it noted that Karry Max Taylor, then 21, of Columbia, S.C., was sentenced in April 2017 for making a hoax bomb threat at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A federal judge sentenced Taylor to a prison sentence of about a year.
"The bureau and its law enforcement partners take each threat seriously. We investigate and fully analyze each threat to determine its credibility," FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said in a statement. "Hoax threats disrupt school, waste limited law enforcement resources and put first responders in unnecessary danger. We also don't want to see a young person start out adulthood with a felony record over an impulsive social media post. It's not a joke; always think before you post."