Over the past several days, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has received complaints from various areas of the county claiming that e-mails had been delivered advising the recipient that they had been targeted for assassination. This is an e-mail scam and a hoax. Everyone who
receives an email like this has been targeted, not for assassination, but fraud and extortion.
In each instance the “hit-man” offers to leave the victim alone if they agree to pay an extortion fee. Reports of this type of email scam date back to 2006 and there have been no reports of any threats being carried out. While these e-mails vary in style and content and can contain misspellings and broken English, the underlying message from the sender remains the same: pay the hired assassin or risk the consequences.
While there have been no reports of monetary loss or of any threats being carried out, these types of extortion scams can be intimidating. Most often the “scammer” searches online sites for email addresses in blogs or other postings or uses software to randomly create email addresses. A
reply to the email indicates the sender has reached a ‘live’ account. A reply can also serve to escalate the intimidation or make the recipient a target for future scams. The best defense is to delete any unsolicited spam e-mail without opening it and you may report the email to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov).
The Internet Crime Complaint Center was established as a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center as a portal to receive internet related criminal complaints and to refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies as they deem to be appropriate.
If the email contains information that identifies you personally (other than by email address alone; for example, address, complete name, etc.) you should contact your local law enforcement agency.