The FBI has received complaints about a "hit man" cyber scam in Alaska. The attempt at extortion involves emails sent to potential victims claiming that one of their friends has hired someone to kill them.
"The message alleges that, if you pay the fraudster $10,000, they won't kill you and they'll provide evidence to turn in the friend who has hired the hit man," said FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez.
The message tells victims that they are being watched and that their families will be murdered if they contact law enforcement.
Gonzalez said the agency had received calls concerning the hit man emails from people in Juneau.
Word of this scheme follows another FBI warning about a new variation of a "phishing" scam concerning credit cards. Victims receive a text message on their cell phones stating their credit cards have been de-activated. They are told to call a 907 area code number to re-activate and asked for private information like their card number, expiration date, CVV code and PIN.
The new twist is that scammers are "reaching out to people on their smart phones," said Gonzalez.
In a warning sent out earlier this week, the FBI said the elderly are especially vulnerable to this tactic. The FBI suggests deleting the text and reporting it to your credit card issuer.
People suspecting a scam can check it out at the Internet Crime Complain Center website, ic3.gov, Gonzalez said. The site also instructs the public on how to identify and report such schemes.
Reach Mike Dunham at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4332.
By MIKE DUNHAM