A new death threat scam has shown up in Northeast Missouri, according to Detective Tyler Wheeler of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.
The threat warns the recipient via e-mail that a murder contract has been issued for them. However, if the target pays a certain amount of money, the “hit man” will ignore the contract.
“It’s a real sick way of scamming people,” Wheeler said. “The usual ones (scams) say you’ve won this amount, but you need to pay 10 percent before you get it. All this one (death threat scam) is doing is saying that it’s a hired hit man and demanding a certain amount of money (to not carry out the hit).”
Wheeler reports that Friday’s death threat e-mails sought in the neighborhood of $8,000.
According to Wheeler, the e-mail threats appeared locally for the first time Friday.
“A lady reported receiving several (threatening) e-mails this morning,” he said. “Today is the first day we have had it reported.”
It’s uncertain if this threat has already surfaced in other parts of the country.
“I’m not too familiar with this type of scam as of yet. This is a new one. It’s usually a money scam. This one is a little over the top,” said Wheeler.
The recipient of the e-mails was understandably shaken, reports Wheeler.
“She felt a lot better after we told her it is a scam,” he said.
It has been determined that the e-mails originated overseas.
“There are quite a bit of scams going on out there that have the same origin, and they’re pretty much (all) coming out of Russia,” said Wheeler.
The e-mail threats appear to be coming from a car dealer.
“When you open it it contains the death threat,” said Wheeler. “We wanted it out there to let the community know that it is a scam.”
Even though the public will know it’s a threat, Wheeler says the sheriff’s department wants people to contact it if they receive such a threat.
“They need to report it so we can go ahead and do a report, and send it to the right authorities,” he said.