Why your extortion email might be a scam

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Gentle Giant

Giant Admin for a Day
Staff member
Assuming that you actually get here to this part, here's some reasons that an extortion email (where someone threatens to kill you) is probably fake.

The extortion scam is another form of the so-called "Advanced fee fraud". You would keep paying money in exchange for some "assassin" not killing you. It's also called blackmail. Once you start paying these people they will take you for every cent you have. They aren't interested in killing you, they want to steal your money. They will try and do this by scaring you.

If you have read about how to identify a scam email (which is here) then in addition to things like bad grammar, poor spelling, even poorer punctuation, the use of free email servers, etc. these are some other things that make these types of emails a scam format.

1. "Some you call your friend wants you dead".
Not much of a friend then, really.

2. I decided to give you a chance.
Hey, thanks for that.

3. "I have taken money to kill you but now I'm giving you a chance to pay me not to kill you".
So, how does that work exactly? You're going to give the money back to the person who originally paid you to kill me right? You give refunds, right?

4. "Do not call the police".
If you feel threatened in any way by the email you received that is exactly what you should do.

5. "I am in your country...."
Wow. That sounds like a pretty ominous threat but unless you live in Nigeria then no, the extortionist is probably not in your country. Most of these scam mails we have been able to trace come from Nigeria and they are another form of the so-called Nigerian 419 scam. The criminal is not likely to be in your country nor is he likely to be in your neighborhood.

6. "I will send a tape to you which I recorded in every discussion I had with the person who wanted you dead".
A tape? Come on, this is the 21st century. Who uses tape any more for anything? At least get it recorded on your mobile phone.

7. "Do not come out once it is 7 pm."
I don't know why but they always seem to throw this one into the mix. I guess it's supposed to sound scary or something.
 

De Master Yoda

Emeritus
FBI release about the "Hitman " scam

A little old but still relevant.

http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-alert-hit-man-e-mail-scam-persists

FBI Alert: Hit Man E-Mail Scam Persists
Washington, D.C. August 28, 2008

FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its partner, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), continue to receive thousands of reports concerning the hit man e-mail scheme. The 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.

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 oneâ€￾ 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 was threatened with 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 the appearance that the sender actually knew the recipient and their location.

Perpetrators of Internet crimes often use fictitious names, addresses, telephone numbers, and threats or warnings regarding the failure to comply to further their schemes.

In some instances, the use of names, titles, addresses, and telephone numbers of government officials and business executives, and/or the victims’ PII are used in an attempt to make the fraud appear more authentic.

Unfortunately, these hit man e-mail scams are still circulating and evolving throughout the Internet. Don’t get ‘knocked off’ by these cyber criminals who are trying everything they can to access your money and personal information. Instead, protect yourself by reporting any messages you get to the FBI through the IC3 at www.IC3.gov,â€￾ said Special Agent Richard Kolko, Chief, National Press Office, Washington, D.C.

Below are links for the two previous public service announcements published by the IC3 concerning the hit man scheme:

http://www.ic3.gov/media/2007/070109.aspx

http://www.ic3.gov/media/2006/061207.aspx

To receive the latest information about cyber scams, please go to the FBI website and sign up for e-mail alerts by clicking on one of the red envelopes. If you have received a scam e-mail, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov. For more information on e-scams, please visit the FBI's New E-Scams and Warnings webpage.
 
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