The online Hitman scammer who threatens to kill recipients if they do not pay thousands of dollars to the sender, is still sending out thousands of emails and the FBI is again today warning users to ignore the spam and report any incidents to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Two new versions of the scheme began appearing in July 2008, the FBI said. 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 was included in the e-mail to promote that appearance that the sender actually knew the recipient and their location, the FBI said.
In February, the FBI said it was receiving numerous complaints from users in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming The Hitman scam has also been reported in Washington, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan since January.
The scam e-mail, which first appeared in December 2006, purports to be a hired assassin, but is in reality a mass spamming looking to grab your personal information. Replying to the e-mails just sends a signal to senders that they've reached a live account. It also escalates the intimidation, the FBI said in a report last year.
In some instances, the use of names, titles, addresses, and telephone numbers of government officials, business executives and/or victims' PII are used in an attempt to make the fraud appear more authentic, the FBI stated.
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