Meridian Star

October 9, 2012

Hit man scam making the rounds

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Law enforcement are warning of a scam making the rounds that they have dubbed the Hit Man Scam.     

    The scammers email their victims and tell them that they are the target of an assassination attempt and that, for money, the problem can be made to go away.

    "These types of scams have been around for a long time and come in several variations," said Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department Chief Dep. Ward Calhoun. "The common thread between all of them is that you really don't have a hit man gunning for you. They are just trying to scare you into giving up some of your hard earned money."

    According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) there have been several recent complaints concerning this type of scam. IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). The IC3's mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime. The IC3 accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the actual victim or from a third party to the complainant.

    One of the variants of the Hit Man Scam is shown on the IC3 website. Victims  are informed by email they have been targeted for assassination and asks them to purchase a security alarm to use if they see suspicious activity.

    Calhoun said the scams circulating around Lauderdale County state the assassin has decided not to pursue the contract but asks for you to give him several thousand dollars for not going through with the assassination.

    "These people search the Internet looking for divorces, businesses that are caught up in lawsuits, and other such instances in which they believe they can take advantage of a situation," Calhoun said. "This is a bizarre scam but some people do fall for it, although no one here has."

    Calhoun also cautions residents not to click on any links that may come with these types of emails. Calhoun said the links may actually be a virus designed to access your computer in order to retrieve personal information.

    "The best thing to do is to just delete these emails and forget about them," Calhoun said.

    If you want to file a complaint, the website for IC3 is Complainants will need to fill out an online form and submit it. Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded and any other relevant information you believe is necessary to support your complaint should be added to the complaint.