E-mail tells islanders to pay sender or die
Recipients should just ignore the flimflam, the Honolulu FBI advises Web users
A new e-mail scam letter received by some Hawaii residents warns recipients that they will be killed unless they pay.
The Honolulu FBI office says the e-mail appears to be a fake, a variation on other e-mail "phishing" scams.
"We've had zero reports of anybody actually being hurt," said FBI Special Agent Brandon Simpson. "From all indications we've seen, the e-mail is a hoax, a mass-marketing effort for a scam artist to get some money."
Variations on the hit-man spam concept have circulated since 2006, according to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. The FBI recommends that people who receive the e-mail just ignore it.
In one case a recipient responded that he wanted to be left alone and threatened to call the authorities, the FBI said. The scammer replied with a repeated threat, this time with personal information attached: the recipient's daughter's full name and his work address.
Bill Shore, a special agent who supervises the computer crime squad in the FBI's Pittsburgh field office, said recipients should not be overly spooked when scammers use personal data.
"Personal information is widely available," Shore said. "Even if a person does not use the Internet or own a computer, they could still be the victim of a computer crime such as identity theft."
The most prolific among e-mail spam scams is known as the Nigerian letter scam, with recipients being offered riches if they front some of their own money.
The hit-man e-mails vary in style and content, and some might claim to be from the FBI in London. The FBI recommends that the best defense against scams is to protect your personal information and delete unsolicited spam e-mail.
To report Internet crime, visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
EXCERPT FROM "HIT MAN"
E-MAIL SCAM LETTER
Am very sorry for you my friend, is a pity that this is how your life is going to end as soon as you don't comply. As you can see there is no need of introducing myself to you because I don't have any business with you, my duty as I am mailing you now is just to KILL/ASSASINATE (sic) you and I have to do it as I have already been paid for that. Someone you call a friend wants you Dead by all means, and the person have spent a lot of money on this, the person also came to us and told me that he want you dead and he provided us with your name, picture and other necessary information's we needed about you. So I sent my boys to track you down and they have carried out the necessary investigation needed for the operation on you, and they have done that but I told them not to kill you that I will like to contact you and see if your life is Important to you or not since their findings shows that you are innocent. I called my client back and ask him of you email address which I didn't tell him what I wanted to do with it and he gave it to me and I am using it to contact you now. As I am writing to you now my men are monitoring you and they are telling me everything about you. Now do you want to LIVE OR DIE? As someone has paid us to kill you. Get back to me now if you are ready to pay some fees to spare your life. If you are not ready for my help, then I will carry on with my job straight up.