To many, email scams have become a joke. Sitcoms have throwaway punchlines that reference a character getting an email from a rich uncle in Nigeria, or some friend needing funds to get home from an overseas trip. One of these scams may not at first seem to be amusing, as it threatens the recipient’s life, but if read further, proves to be quite the drama.
Upon accessing their inbox to find an email with the subject: “Please read this it can be the most important information in your life,” the target opens the message to discover that there has been an evil plot taking shape to do them in. While this email is completely a scam, it is entertaining enough to review here, if only to show how creative cybercriminals can be.
The email itself informs the recipient that the sender, a professional hitman, has been hired to execute them. According to the email, this order was passed to the contract killer because the recipient’s “activity causes trouble to a particular person.” However, after studying the target, the hitman has had a change of heart and is therefore offering the target a chance to save themselves--something that will blackball the hitman and ruin the reputation built on twelve years of successful contracts.
The recipient then learns that the hitman was looking to get out of the game anyway, and so this offers a mutually beneficial solution. For 0.5 Bitcoin (worth well over $5000), instead of carrying out the kill, the assassin will instead turn over the name of the person who hired them, along with incriminating evidence to bring to the police. Of course, the hitman warns, the target should not go immediately to the police, as their investigation would take longer than the two days the target has to accept the arrangement.
Finally, the hitman promises to make contact again once the funds have been transferred, and apologizes for their career, stating:
“I really regret that you became my prey.”
Despite (or perhaps due to) the letter reading like the synopsis of a summertime Hollywood blockbuster, the scammer responsible has yet to collect any funds in the online wallet they provide in their letter. Of course, this may also be in part because of the demand of the 0.5 Bitcoin, which isn’t exactly pocket change.
Now that you know this, don’t be the first to hand over a few thousand dollars for an empty threat. Instead, if you happen to receive one of these emails, mark it as spam. This will help teach the spam filters that this is an unwanted email, and might help to keep it from reaching someone else’s inbox.
For more information to help you dodge the scams that cybercriminals leverage, give Celera Networks a call at (617) 375-9100.