Alert: 419 Hit Man Scam Scares Users into Paying Thousands

Dennis Faas's picture

Imagine you walked out to the front step tomorrow morning, clad in bathrobe, boxers, and scruffy slippers, only to find a note with the message "I'm going to kill you." Now, imagine that same sentiment came in the form of a personal email.

Is there a difference?

Most long-time users of the web and electronic mail would be hard-pressed to consider both mediums in the same manner. Although it takes some backbone and effort to leave a note like that on someone's porch, doing so via email isn't quite as personal.

Regardless, the "Killer Spam" that is now finding its way into electronic mailboxes is a scary new phenomenon, and may have powerful consequences for email users without the tech background necessary to sniff out scams. (Source:

No longer are online crooks interested in selling Viagra treatments, it seems. Instead, they're posing as hit men, having been given the task of wiping out the email's recipient. The only way to avoid being rubbed out, it seems, is to forward a portion of the amount being offered the hit man for his services. If he's been given $50,000 to kill you, then $10,000, or $20,000, or even $30,000 seems like a fair deal for him to simply leave you alone.

Of course, none of this is going to happen. The goon is on the other side of the world, and doesn't know you or your enemies. He (or she) has only an email address.

Earlier this year, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (why, they must be busy bees) issued a warning to web users that the email extortion scam was climbing in popularity. Since then, some 100 cases have been logged nationwide, and yet it appears that not everyone is "e-aware" enough to avoid forwarding funds. (Source:

The Internet Crime Complaint Center tells email users to pay little heed to such messages. However, if the threats become more personal -- say, include family details -- recipients should contact the authorities immediately.

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