(September 15, 2016)-  Just when you thought scammers couldn’t get any lower, they exceed your expectations.  A new scam making its way onto computers in SW Florida has scammers posing as “hitmen” saying that they have been paid to kill you and offering you a chance to buy them off.

Detectives in SW Florida are starting to see this scam pop up and want to warn residents before they see this and become alarmed.

“There really are no depths to which these guys won’t sink,” said Det. Sergeant David Gleason of the Cape Coral Police Department Financial Crimes Unit.  “They send this in hopes of generating fear and hope that the victim will overreact emotionally and let their guard down.”

Once that happens, according to Gleason, victims get compromised.

Gleason continued, “If the victim responds, the scammer will then try to arrange a money transfer using a wire transfer or putting money on a “Green Dot” card.  Once that happens, the cash is gone and is virtually impossible to trace or recover.  Most of these criminals are outside the United States.  Another possible avenue of attack is that once the victim responds, the scammer then captures the victim's Internet IP address and targets their personal computer with malware, putting their personal information at risk."

This is a variation on an old email scam that creates a sense of urgency in the mind of the victim by setting up an imaginary crisis that can only be averted if money is sent to this person.

Here are some tips for dealing with e-mail scams:

  • Delete email and text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information (credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.). Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email or text.
  • The messages may appear to be from organizations you do business with – banks, for example. They might threaten to close your account or take other action if you don’t respond.
  • Don’t reply, and don’t click on links or call phone numbers provided in the message, either. These messages direct you to spoof sites – sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information so a scammer can run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
  • Area codes can mislead, too. Some scammers ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access a "refund." But a local area code doesn’t guarantee that the caller is local.
  • If you’re concerned about your account or need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.

For more information on how to protect yourself from email scams, go to https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing

 

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CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT | Public Affairs Office | 1100 Cultural Park Boulevard | Cape Coral, FL 33990 | (239) 242-3341