Scammers have reached a new low with this vicious scam that threatens to kill people unless they give in to demands and pay thousands of dollars to an alleged assassin.
Known around the world as the “hitman” scam, it first surfaced in 2007 as an email and has since evolved to SMS text messages.
The sender claims to be a hitman who has been hired to kill you but will spare your life if you send them money, typically between $1000 and $100,000.
The sender claims they are watching you and not to report the SMS or email to police.
Don’t be alarmed. The email and SMS are being sent randomly to thousands of harvested email addresses and phone numbers.
Local and overseas police are urging people to ignore it, saying it is an empty threat and their life is not in danger.
Replying to the SMS or email will only alert the scammers that they have a live account and they could escalate the intimidation and make more threatening demands.
One version of the email scam reads: “I am very sorry for you, is a pity that this is how your life is going to end as soon as you don’t comply. As you can see there is no need of introducing myself to you because I don’t have any business with you, my duty as I am mailing you now is just to KILL you and I have to do it as I have already been paid for that.”
The email goes on to say that a friend “wants you dead” and has paid the hitman a large amount of money. The so-called friend has provided your details and the hitman’s team has tracked you down and are watching you.
The email goes on to warn: “Do not think of contacting the police or even tell anyone because I will know. Remember someone who knows you very well want you dead! I will extend it to your family, incase I notice something funny.”
A typical SMS version reads: "Someone paid me to kill you. If you want me to spare you, I'll give you two days to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, you will die, I am monitoring you."
Some of the text messages are long and contain all the text, while others are broken up into shorter messages.