Friday, June 22, 2007

Hit Man Spam

I thought most people had heard of the Contract Killer or Hit Man phishing scam. However, after watching CNN's coverage of the story today, and witnessing the reaction of the folks in the room with me, it would appear I was wrong.

Here's what this email scam looks like:

This scam, which first appeared in December 2006, is kind of a reversal of the traditional Nigerian 419 scam - instead of someone promising to hand you money because you happen to have the same last name as a lottery winner, the sender of this scam email offers *not* to kill you if you send them cash.

Variations on this theme include various warnings listed from Hollywood movies ("DO NOT CALL THE POLICE/FBI!") and $US dollar amounts four to five times greater than the $20,000 fee listed here.

Bottom line: if you get an email from someone who says they've been contracted to kill you, unless you're Tony Soprano, or are chronically late on making good your local bookie, it's a scam.

Note: As reported by Consumer Affairs back in January, some of the scammers have added a neat twist: they follow up the original email with an email claiming to be from the FBI's London office.

In the follow-up email, the "FBI's London Office" claims that they have information on an individual wanted for murder, including the fact that your name has been found on a " hit list" they now have in their possession, and then asks you to contact them to "assist" with the investigation.

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