Woman receives spam e-mail veiled as death threat


Deborah Szabo was working at her computer when an e-mail came in that grabbed her attention.

"It made my heart beat a little bit," she says. "A little bit faster."

"The heading says somebody you call friend, wants you dead. It caught my attention right away," she recalled.

It goes on to say your life is going to end within 10 days. The sender says he's a hitman and has sent "my boys" to track you down, that somebody will want you "dead by all means." "My men are monitoring you. Now, do you want to live or die? Don't tell anyone."

But, the letter says, for $8,000, $3,000 now and $5,000 later, your life will be spared.

The author then advises not to go out after 7 p.m.

"For anyone who receives this, I feel terrible for them," says Joe Ridout with Consumer Action. "It must be terrifying to open this up and read."

Ridout says it is phony, a spammer looking for quick cash. Still, it is a spam he's never seen before.

"The frightening thing for anyone who falls for this, should they pay out what they are asking, it is a certainty that there will be additional death threats, bogus or otherwise, demanding even more money," he says.

Deborah knew it was fake. She wasn't worried for herself. But she is a court-appointed conservator for seniors and she's concerned some could be taken in.

"I've seen the devastation of too many who thought they were going to make a million dollars, so they spent their life savings, sending maybe $5,000 at a time to these people taking advantage of them," she says. "When a death threat is involved, that's too much, it's unacceptable."

Never respond to these kinds of e-mails, even if it is just to play with them or outsmart them, because you could be put on a suckers list and these kinds of mailings would go on and on.

If you get one of these e-mails, report it here.

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