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Scammers Extort Money by Posing as Assassins

A group of spammers describing themselves as assassins has been scamming people of thousands of dollars by sending threatening e-mails. In the message, the spammers write that they are hired to kill the recipient but would drop the idea if the recipient pays them money.

According to Attorney General of Maryland, Doug Gansler, the e-mails represent the next generation of phishing scams, as reported by nbc4 on July 17, 2008.

Gansler said that scam artists dispatched thousands of e-mails containing the threat. He explained that if these criminals are able to get even a tiny percentage of users to respond, they could earn huge revenues and amass a great deal of profit.

According to reports by nbc4, the message starts with a wish to the recipient and then telling him/her that the sender has been paid advance money of $50,000 to kill the person. Then, it warns against contacting FBI or the police, if the person does so, the writer might be even pushed to carry out the contract.

The message further said that the recipient would be required to deposit $20,000 into the account that the sender would provide before they make their first meeting. Also, the recipient would not be given the sender's phone number till he is assured of his/her compliance, the e-mail concludes.

According to Gansler, the scam is almost like a kidnapping scheme of modern times. A lot of these e-mails originate offshore with criminals are using stolen e-mail addresses. Also, these scammers are difficult to trace as they are ahead of the ISPs and law enforcement, as reported by WTOPnews on July 17, 2008.

Gansler also said that ISPs need to perform a better task in blocking spam mails. Moreover, end-users should avoid responding to these e-mails and do not send anyone any money as a way of submission to such threats.

Meanwhile, police said that people, who get the e-mails, should inform about the e-mail to higher authorities like the Office of the state's Attorney General, the Secret Service or the FBI.

Related article: Scammers Exploit Tax System Resulting in ID Theft

» SPAMfighter News - 7/29/2008

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