Police agencies across Australia put out alerts Monday declaring as fake text messages and emails sent to thousands of Australians that said they had two days to pay $5,000 or die.
“Do not respond,” said Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Queensland Police Service. “Delete it immediately and don’t panic, because that’s what they prey upon.”
The messages started assaulting mobile phones and email accounts Sunday. Police did not provide an exact figure but said they were surprised by the scope of the scam.
“This is not a random event. This is organized crime,” Hay said, noting the complexities of pulling off a scam of this magnitude.
The message reads: “Sum1 paid me to kill you. Get spared, 48hrs to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised.” It then directs the recipient to contact them at a Yahoo email account.
“They’ve done their research. They’ve acquired their contact lists. They’ve paid for the distribution of the text messages.”
This a new method of scam but it may originate from the same place as ye old Nigerian scam. It may freak some people out. But, think about it. Demanding only $5000 or you die? That’s lame. It targets those that may not think critically but just react.
Police are encouraging recipients of these threats to ignore them and don’t panic. Whatever you do, do not respond to the email address. However, I would think police would want these reported so they can pinpoint the source. I expect this idea will spread. Be aware. Pass on that you know it’s a scam.