We sort of wish we didn't have to say this, but if you receive a text message from a "hitman" asking for $5,000 for your life, as thousands of Australians already have, do not pay it, just delete it. Seriously, there is no hitman after you, or if you don't want to take our word for it, here's some advice from Queensland Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Queensland Police Service, who told The BBC: "Do not respond. Delete it immediately and don't panic ... because that's what they prey upon." Hay and his team have been dealing with a text scam affecting thousands of Australians who received a message yesterday that said: "Sum1 paid me to kill you. Get spared, 48hrs to pay around $5000 (US). If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised." Pretty ominous right? And that's way more threatening than Nigerian princes promising you millions of dollars or whatnot, but it's just as fake. And it's likely that these death threat texts are an incarnation of the bogus death threat e-mails which peaked some five years ago. In a CNN report, police said they were most worried about seniors and "those not familiar with the Internet" falling for the scam. Apparently the scam directed people to a Yahoo e-mail account which thankfully, as the BBC reports, has since been deleted by police.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.