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‘Hit Man’ e-mail Scam Strikes University Computers

Austin Peay State University has been reporting complaints about the 'hit man' e-mail spam, following which the University Police Chief, Lantz Biles, has advised e-mail users to delete those messages. The Leaf Chronicle reported this on July 31, 2007.

Suggesting not to even reply the 'hit man' e-mail, Biles stressed that unknown and unsolicited e-mail addresses often create havoc by sending malicious messages. The outcome of a technical problem from a spam mail is one issue but this 'hit man' scam launches obtrusive attacks.

The e-mail says that the sender has been paid to kill the person receiving the message. But he would not oblige the order if the recipient wired him $4,000 and an additional $4,000 to know who issued the order.

Biles explained that with growing gun-related violence in the campus, threats from such e-mails make people more apprehensive. Although scams like the 'hit man' don't carry the same strutting air about them, but their objectives are same - to extort money from recipients, Biles said.

He also said that the FBI knew about the situation. Other colleges too are receiving this spam mail. Being well documented, the scam could arouse fear among unsuspecting recipients.

Six months back, the FBI had issued a warning of the 'hit man' that was circulating in the country, said Paul Bresson, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Desert Dispatch published Bresson's statement in the second half of July 2007.

Scam artists often take advantage of people's emotions, be it fear or greed, such as many Nigerian scams exploit the greed for money or anything lucrative. Sometimes they play through intimidation, Bresson added.

Scammers give shape to their pranks through spam in a hope to hit a large number of inboxes worldwide. According to Bresson, 95-99% of e-mailers are able to recognize spam mails, which they delete immediately but the fraudsters are actually after the remaining 1-5%.

Bresson advises users to update their Internet security applications on their PCs, deploy a firewall and remove stored cookies. Bresson doesn't guarantee immunity of computers to scams by adopting these steps, but they would definitely bring down the risk.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 8/10/2007

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