Ever since the dawn of email, nefarious users the world over have attempted to utilize it to scam consumers out of their hard earned money. From Nigerian princes and stranded “family” members needing quick financial assistance, to someone threatening to release your browsing history to your mate or family if you don’t pony up some cash, scammers attempt to appeal to our desire for easy money, our familial bonds, or the desire to forego embarrassment or marital discord. And now some scammers are resorting to an old trick… with a new twist. Here’s what we know about the Hitman Scam.
As far back as 2007, consumers have reported receiving hitman extortion emails claiming that someone approached the author on the “dark net” with a request to eliminate the reader in exchange for pay, but of course they are willing to call off the hit if the intended victim will pay them a fraction of the agreed upon bounty.
However, the latest version of the hitman extortion scheme takes the scam to a whole new level by not only offering the reader’s life in exchange for $4,000 in Bitcoin, but they will also actually turn the tables on the person that hired them and kill them instead. To add a little more urgency to the revelation, the assassin ends the email by telling the victim that they only have 38 hours to transmit the funds and have the hit called off.
If you happen to receive an email of this nature, there are a few rules you should follow:
- Don’t reply to the message.
- Do not click any links within the email message.
- Do not download or open any attachments.
- And of course, DON’T pay the ransom.
Additionally, if you have serious concerns about the extortion attempt, the FBI advises that you report the incident to your local police via a non-emergency number and file a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
Some of the traits that should tip you off to this scam are:
- The hitman never addresses you by name or reveals personal info that a true contract killer would likely have.
- The email is full of spelling and grammatical errors.
- They demand an expedited payment.
- They request financial information such as banking, credit card, or other personally identifying info.
Don’t be a victim of this recycled scam, delete the email and report it to authorities.
Thoughts on the Hitman Scam? Don’t hesitate to discuss! Comment below, or shoot us an email. If interested, please send your thoughts to Outreach@ConsiderTheConsumer.com, find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website! We look forward to hearing from all of you.
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