Faking Internet Outage: How To?

Here’s how to fake an internet outage:

The easiest way to fake an internet outage is to unplug your modem so that it has no power.

Alternatively, you could try reporting an outage to your internet provider, or you could try cutting off power to your home (or place of work).

Anything that prevents the modem from communicating will work.

So if you want to learn all about pretending you have internet outage, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s jump right into it!

Faking Internet Outage: How To? (Everything to Know)

Why Do You Need to Fake an Internet Outage?

For the most part, there are three ways to fake an internet outage:

  • unplug your modem
  • kill your power
  • report an outage to your internet provider.

But, knowing what to do and how to go about it largely depends on why you’re interested in this in the first place.

I’m going to make a guess here and say that you’re trying to get out of work.

Maybe you have something urgent that needs attending.

Maybe you’re just sick of work.

Regardless, I’m going to explain how to fake an outage on the assumption that you’re trying to get out of work.

If you have a different reason to fake an internet outage, these techniques will still work, but you’ll have to fill in your own context and decide what makes sense for you.

Also, I need to hit you with a disclaimer.

Lying about an internet outage could possibly constitute fraud.

At the very least, it comes with ethical concerns.

So, I’m not giving any advice at all in this article.

I’m just talking about how the internet works and how you can use that knowledge to make your own decisions.

How Can You Fake an Internet Outage? (3 Ways)

Ok. Now that we’ve settled all of that, let’s really get into it.

These are the three primary ways to fake an internet outage and how they work.

#1 Unplug the Modem

Regardless of the reason, if your goal is to fake an internet outage, the simplest solution is to unplug your modem.

If the modem doesn’t have any power, then any device depending on it for an internet connection will be offline.

Let me explain this a little better.

In a typical home network, you have a modem, a switch, and a router.

In most cases, these are all combined into one device, but understanding them separately can help you see why unplugging the modem is more important than unplugging a separate switch or router.

The modem is the device that connects with the whole internet.

If you have a desktop computer at home, it probably connects via an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi to your modem.

The modem takes information sent from the computer and then passes it to the greater internet infrastructure so you can browse websites and send emails and all of that jazz.

If the modem is offline, then your computer cannot send or receive any internet communication.

Meanwhile, a switch is the thing that allows you to plug multiple devices into your modem via Ethernet cables.

A switch is basically a splitter for internet connections, but because of how internet communication works, the switch is actually a bit more complicated in design and function.

The bottom line is that if you want to plug multiple computers into one router, you need a switch to do that, and it’s why most modems have a switch built in (making it a multi-function device).

Meanwhile, you have a router.

The router is what runs your Wi-Fi.

So, if you connect your computer to the internet wirelessly, then the computer is connected to your router.

The router then communicates with the modem, and the modem does its usual thing.

Again, modems often come with a built-in router, but the point is that the modem is what is actually in control of your internet.

If you unplug your modem, your whole network goes down, and anybody trying to keep an eye on your network won’t be able to tell why.

It won’t show up as an internet outage with your service provider, but none of your typical devices will be able to connect to the internet.

It looks like a local outage, or it looks like maybe your modem is malfunctioning.

Meanwhile, your phone will still be able to use cellular data, so you can take advantage of that as needed.

#2 Report the Outage to Your ISP

The thing to keep in mind is that if you’re using internet outages to avoid work, then any pattern of behavior could eventually cause problems.

So, if your internet at home is frequently going out, but your internet service provider (ISP) isn’t showing any outages, a diligent workplace might notice.

Here’s where you can expand your con (again, I’m not making any recommendations, just explaining how it all works). 

If you report an internet outage to your ISP when you unplug the modem, then that creates an outage report.

So, if your employer checks to see if you really have an outage, any publicly viewable reports will show up there.

There are a few things to keep in mind.

First, if you are the only one making this report, it might look suspicious.

If you can get a few other people in your neighborhood to also make the report, then it carries more weight and looks more like a genuine outage.

The second thing you need to know is the catch to all of this.

If you report an outage to your ISP, and they send someone out to fix it, they’ll probably charge you for that service.

Even worse, if they send out a technician who finds no problems, they’ll almost certainly charge you.

Regardless, if your false outage report causes the ISP to spend or lose money, you could potentially be on the hook for fraud.

Fraud claims are pretty complicated, especially in civil court, but it’s not something you want to take lightly.

#3 Kill Your Power

The third option you have is to cut off power to the modem in a different way.

You can go to your circuit breaker and flip the breaker that supplies power to your modem.

You can then say that you have a power outage rather than an internet outage.

There are a couple of things going on here.

First, power outages are not always as easily reported or checked as internet outages.

There are plenty of things that can kill power to a single building that don’t affect the overall grid (such as when your breakers are accidentally tripped).

Second, I’ve already talked about patterns of behavior.

If your internet is always going out, it’s going to look suspicious.

But, if your internet goes out every once in a while, and you have an occasional power issue, it creates less of an obvious trend.

Granted, if it happens every Friday, people are going to raise suspicion.

So, killing your power and reporting it as such gives you a little more leeway.

What Are Some Alternatives to Faking an Internet Outage? (3 Options)

Ultimately, I’ve based all of this on the assumption that you are trying to get out of work for a day or a few hours.

If you have a different reason to fake an outage, the above tips still work.

But, if getting out of work is the real goal, then there are a few other things you can try that don’t rely on internet outages.

Especially if you mix some of this in with your occasional internet problems, it really breaks up any patterns of behavior.

#1 Use a Sick or Personal Day

It’s pretty easy and obvious.

You get sick and personal days for a reason.

If you need to not be at work, then use these resources.

It’s important that you check your employee manual and/or contract, though.

Every company manages sick days a little bit differently, so you want to have a strong understanding of the rules before you take time off.

With some companies, sick days are granted, no questions asked.

Other companies differentiate between sick days and other forms of time off, and they may require a doctor’s note.

So, take the time to learn which type of leave is appropriate for your situation and act accordingly.

That will prevent any unwanted reprimands or disciplinary action.

You can take your time, and then go back to work when whatever situation you’re facing allows.

#2 Go Job Hunting

If you frequently need time off that your company doesn’t allow, then it might be time to look for an alternative form of employment.

This is especially true if you want to fake an outage just because you hate your job.

I’m not judging.

Most of us get stuck with jobs we hate at some point.

But in this case, I actually am giving some advice.

If you hate your job enough to flip a breaker and lose power to your home just to avoid it, then job hunting is something to seriously consider.

Conventional wisdom says that you should hang onto the current job until you find a suitable replacement.

Ultimately, you have to be the judge of your own life.

Regardless, finding a new job is something that can work out, even if it temporarily adds stress to your life.

#3 Talk to Your Boss

There’s a whole other tactic that you can take.

If you just need a specific amount of time off, and you think you need to fake an internet outage to get it, then try talking to your boss.

Obviously, you know your boss better than I do, so you’ll have to judge if this is viable in your specific situation.

More often than not, a competent boss will work with you if you need unexpected time to resolve a situation.

If you’re in the other boat and you just hate your job, you could still try talking to your boss.

Try to professionally express your dissatisfaction.

They might be able to push some changes that make a real difference.

Or, they might make it clear that you are stuck where you are.

Either way, it clarifies your options, and you can make informed decisions from there.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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