Scam emails are falsely claiming that a "friend" has hired an assassin to kill the recipient
E-MAILS CONTAINING THREATS AND EXTORTIONA variation of the same basic scam in which emails claimed to be from the FBI in London, prompted a second FBI alert in January 2007:
12/07/06—We have recently received information concerning spam e-mails threatening to assassinate the recipient unless the individual pays several thousand dollars to the sender of the e-mail.
The subject claims to have been following the victim for some time and was supposedly hired to kill the victim by a friend of the victim. The subject threatens to carry out the assassination if the victim goes to the police and requests the victim to respond quickly and provide their telephone number.
Warning! Providing any personal information can compromise your identify and open you to identity theft.
If you have experienced this situation, please notify your local, state, or federal law enforcement agency immediately. Also, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.
NEW TWIST CONCERNING THREAT AND EXTORTION E-MAILSThe amount of the requested fee varies considerably. The example included here asks for $9000, but other versions request amounts ranging from $1000 up to $80,000 and more. Earlier versions of the scam may have deliberately targeted more wealthy professionals such as dentists. However, the 2008 incarnation seems to be more randomly distributed. News stories about the scam emails indicate that they have been reported in several countries, including Australia, Canada and the United States.
01/09/07—There is a new twist to the IC3 alert posted on December 7, 2006 regarding e-mails claiming that the sender has been paid to kill the recipient and will cancel the contract on the recipient's life if that person pays a large sum of money. Now e-mails are surfacing that claim to be from the FBI in London. These e-mails note the following information:
* An individual was recently arrested for the murders of several United States and United Kingdom citizens in relation to this matter.
* The recipient's information was found on the subject identifying the recipient as the next victim.
* The recipient is requested to contact the FBI in London to assist with the investigation.
* It is not uncommon for an Internet fraud scheme to have the same overall intent but be transmitted containing variations in the e-mail content, e.g., different names, e-mail addresses, and/or agencies reportedly involved.
Please note, providing any personal information in response to an unsolicited e-mail can compromise your identity and open you to identity theft.
Queensland fraud and corporate crime group boss Detective Superintendent Brian Hay said yesterday investigators were aware of a Polish scammer who had made $56,000 through the threatening email scam from scared Australians in less than one year.If you receive a hitman scam email that includes specific personal information about you, the FBI advises that you should report it to the police:
He said detectives knew of at least one Gold Coast resident who had received a Hitman threat and had paid up the required amount.
Due to the threat of violence inherent in these extortion e-mails, if you receive an e-mail that contains personally identifiable information that might differentiate your e-mail from the general e-mail spam campaign, we encourage you to contact the police.References:
Last updated: 21st February 2008
First published: 21st February 2008
Write-up by Brett M. Christensen