If you receive a death threat email, you’re in good company. The so-called “Hitman email” scam has made a comeback.
Around since at least 2006, the content of the death threat email has evolved some, but the general gist of it remainds the same: the Hitman email claims that someone wants you dead, that the Hitman email sender has been hired to kill you, and that if you come up with a sufficient amount of money, they will spare your life.
According to the FBI, the Internet Crime Complaint Center “continues to receive thousands of reports concerning the hit man e-mail scheme. E-mail content has evolved since late 2006; however, the messages remain similar in nature, claiming the sender has been hired to kill the recipient.”
The FBI then goes on to say: “Two new versions of the scheme began appearing in July 2008. One instructed the recipient to contact a telephone number contained in the e-mail and the other claimed the recipient or a “loved one” was going to be kidnapped unless a ransom was paid. Recipients of the kidnapping threat were told to respond via e-mail within 48 hours. The sender was to provide the location of the wire transfer five minutes before the deadline and threatened bodily harm if the ransom was not received within 30 minutes of the time frame given. The recipients’ personally identifiable information (PII) was included in the e-mail to promote that appearance that the sender actually knew the recipient and their location.”
Did you catch that? The recipients’ personally identifiable information was included in the e-mail to promote the appearance that the sender actually knew the recipient and their location.
Indeed, earlier this year, a recipient of the emailed death threat responded to the scammer, telling the scammer to leave him alone, and the scammer wrote back and included personal details about the recipient, including his work address, his marital status, and his daughter’s name.
Does that mean that the scammer actually knew him, and really had a contract to kill him?
Or, does it mean that, generally speaking, way too much of our personal information is available on the Internet, ripe for picking to be used in a scam?
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Here are some examples of the form and text of the Hitman email:
Goodday to you.
Am very sorry for you my friend, 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/ASSASINATE you and I have to do it as I have already been paid for that.
Someone you call a friend wants you Dead by all means, and the person have spent a lot of money on this, the person also came to us and told me that he want you dead and he provided us with your name, picture and other necessary information’s we needed about you. So I sent my boys to track you down and they have carried out the necessary investigation needed for the operation on you, and they have done that but I told them not to kill you that I will like to contact you and see if your life is Important to you or not since their findings shows that you are innocent.
I called my client back and ask him of you email address which I didn’t tell him what I wanted to do with it and he gave it to me and I am using it to contact you now. As I am writing to you now my men are monitoring you and they are telling me everything about you.
Now do you want to LIVE OR DIE? As someone has paid us to kill you. Get back to me now if you are ready to pay some fees to spare your life, If you are not ready for my help, then I will carry on with my job straight-up.
WARNING: 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.
DO NOT COME OUT ONCE IT IS 7:30PM UNTIL I MAKE OUT TIME TO SEE YOU AND GIVE YOU THE TAPE OF MY DISCUSSION WITH THE PERSON WHO WANT YOU DEAD AFTER YOU HAVE COMPLIED WITH MY DEMANDS, THEN YOU CAN USE IT TO TAKE ANY LEGAL ACTION. GOOD LUCK AS I AWAIT YOUR REPLY
Subject: Merry Xmas to you and stay alive………..
I Want you to read this message very carefully, and keep the secret with you till further notice, You have no need of knowing who i am, where am from,till i make out a space for us to see, i have being paid $150, 000.00 in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer,its one i believe you call a friend and a Home Builder you do business everyday with,i have followed you closely for one week and tree days now and have seen that you are innocent of the accusetion,Do not contact the police or try to send a copy of this to them, because if you do i will know, and might be pushed to do what i have being paid to do,beside this the first time i turned out to be a betrayer in my job.
Now listen,i will arrange for us to see face to face but before that i need the amount of $150,000.00,you have nothing to be afraid of,i will come to your office or home, so determine when you wish we meet,do not set any camera to cover us or set up any tape to record our conversation,my employer is in my control now,$80, 000.00 will be paid to the account i will provide for you,after our conversation,i will give you the tape that contains his request for me to terminate you, which will be enough evidence for you to take him to court(if you wish to), then the balance will be paid.
You don’t need my phone contact for now till am assured you are ready to comply good.
NOTE: I have you whole details.