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Hit Man Email Scammer Back With a Vengeance 169

Posted by timothy
from the chris-nandor's-the-one-who-should-be-afraid dept.
coondoggie writes "The online Hitman scammer, who threatens to kill recipients if they do not pay thousands of dollars to the sender, is still sending out thousands of emails and the FBI is again today warning users to ignore the spam and report any incidents to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Two new versions of the scheme began appearing in July 2008, the FBI said. One instructed the recipient to contact a telephone number contained in the e-mail and the other claimed the recipient or a 'loved one' was going to be kidnapped unless a ransom was paid."
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Hit Man Email Scammer Back With a Vengeance

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2008 @07:27AM (#24792395)

    sending out death threats to all and sundry . . . I hope law enforcement gets to the silly buggers before some real killers do

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2008 @07:31AM (#24792419)

      I don't.

    • exactly what is the aim ? I presume extortion of money which if you look at the online scam seem's to be the endpoint of most spam email why take this any more seriously than others ?

      spam filters should be able to trace then endpoints... yet another reason why SPF and DKIM should be more widely deployed...

      maybe the FBI might want to focus on forceing ISP's to identify who the sender is via technologies such as DKIM...

      regards

      John Jones
      http://www.johnjones.me.uk [johnjones.me.uk]

      • Well, duh - of course it's to get money. There are some suckers who haven't spent all their money trying to collect big bucks from Nigeria, and sending out Herbal Fake Viagra pills is really just too much trouble when all you need to do for your money is refrain from shooting somebody. It's as much fun as baiting trolls.

        There's certainly no need for the FBI to force ISPs to implement DKIM to identify senders of spam; to the extent that technologies like that work, ISPs that want to get rid of spamming use

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Z00L00K (682162)

      There is always a risk that this will kick back on people like this. Death threats are something that will pop up on the radar of several agencies in several countries.

      The ordinary Nigeria scams are just stupid and foolish.

      "Dear fool I want to give you money but you will have to pay me first..."
      is just so simple compared to
      "Dear fool, provide me with some more information so I can kill you or some close relative unless you pay me"

  • this guy (Score:4, Funny)

    by citizenr (871508) on Friday August 29, 2008 @07:28AM (#24792399) Homepage
    needs to meet offline hitman
    • Re:this guy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197) on Friday August 29, 2008 @08:48AM (#24793021) Journal

      Don't worry, he will. Something like this is going to happen:

      Man went to jail last night for a bar fight. He paid his hundred dollars bail and gets out. He's pissed at whoever he got in a fight with, he's pissed at whoever called the cops, he's pissed at the cops, he's pissed at the bar. He comes home and finds an email threatening his life.

      Whatever dimwit is sending these likely won'y be alive this time next year.

      He's probaby posting at slashdot, probably somebody on my "freaks" list. I hope it's the AC who keeps posting the goatse trolls, they're getting tiresome.

      • by KGIII (973947)

        Man went to jail last night for a bar fight. He paid his hundred dollars bail and gets out. He's pissed at whoever he got in a fight with, he's pissed at whoever called the cops, he's pissed at the cops, he's pissed at the bar.

        But I'm not on your freaks list yet. But I have got one hella hangover.

  • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Friday August 29, 2008 @07:30AM (#24792409) Homepage Journal

    Has the internet stabbing device been invented?
    (from http://www.bash.org/?4281 [bash.org] )

    Zybl0re: get up
    Zybl0re: get on up
    Zybl0re: get up
    Zybl0re: get on up
    phxl|paper: and DANCE
    * nmp3bot dances : D-<
    * nmp3bot dances : D|-<
    * nmp3bot dances : D/-<
    [SA]HatfulOfHollow: i'm going to become rich and famous after i invent a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet

  • This guy is ruining the legitimate hitman industry now that most of our (err, their) emails are ending up in spam bins. Better go check your spam bins people.

    • This guy is ruining the legitimate hitman industry now that most of our (err, their) emails are ending up in spam bins.

      If you're actually trying to blackmail your targets rather than just doing your job, then you're only shooting yourself in the foot. You won't get any repeat business that way.

      Amateurs.

  • Old tactics (Score:5, Funny)

    by Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) <patrik.vanostaeyen@NOspam.gmail.com> on Friday August 29, 2008 @07:37AM (#24792457) Journal
    Well, pay me $1000 or your mother in law will receive this immortality drug...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2008 @07:41AM (#24792481)

    The people who figure it's a scam realize their mistake too late. The gullible pay and live. In the end only people who click on everything and respond to spam will be left. *Wake up, you're having a nightmare!*

  • Is that a threat? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xandos (1350159) on Friday August 29, 2008 @07:41AM (#24792485)
    I thought it was standard procedure to first kidnap and then request a ransom. Why would people pay a ransom -provided they feel really threatened by the email - if noone is kidnapped yet? They can always pay ransom when the kidnapping is actually done?
    • Re:Is that a threat? (Score:5, Informative)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Friday August 29, 2008 @08:02AM (#24792607) Homepage

      I thought it was standard procedure to first kidnap and then request a ransom. Why would people pay a ransom -provided they feel really threatened by the email - if noone is kidnapped yet? They can always pay ransom when the kidnapping is actually done?

      For the same reason that people fall for all kinds of scams and other stupid stuff on the internet that they might not fall for in real life -- some subset of the recipients actually believe it is real.

      If you send enough, it only takes an exceedingly small percentage of people to respond to any attempt to get cash and it probably works. Same for "p3n1s 3nl4rgm3nt", Nigerian scams, or phishing.

      In this case, people might actually believe (as much as you and I can't see how) that someone they know might be in real peril of getting kidnapped. Yup, it's naive, but we know people believe all sorts of things.

      However, in this case, I should think that sending such threats over email is probably a federal crime, and the people doing this are going to be hosed if they get caught. I'm sure it's probably at least 2-3 felonies to do such a thing.

      Cheers

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hal_Porter (817932)

        I read that in Japan someone sent out a spam that said "I know you're having an affair! Pay me $CASH_SUM or I'll tell your wife". He got lucky with some small percentage of the recipients who sent him money. But he got unlucky with a much smaller percentage who reported him to the police.

      • by Ed Avis (5917)

        Why are people calling this guy a 'scammer'? He sounds more like a simple extortionist.

        Or is it simply that he is lying about murdering and kidnapping people, so tricking the victims into paying money when they get nothing in return? Maybe it would be more honest of him to really carry out the murders: then at least it wouldn't be a scam.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Urkki (668283)

          This is just a mass-mailed request to receive money, hoping to get some suckers to send some. Whatever the reason given for sending money, it's a scam. Just 'cos the reason given by this scam is a threat of violence, it doesn't stop it from being a scam, it just makes it also extortion.

      • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Friday August 29, 2008 @09:07AM (#24793171) Journal

        In this case, people might actually believe (as much as you and I can't see how) that someone they know might be in real peril of getting kidnapped. Yup, it's naive, but we know people believe all sorts of things.

        Note as well that a small percentage of these will fall in mailbox of people in a situation where these threats may be more plausible. I mean, if my mother received such a mail just the day after my company sent my in a middle-east country, it may take a more worrying tone.

        Also, if you tell "I kidnapped your child" to 20,000 people, you have a good chance to have 2 or 3 people in the list who really don't know where their children are and worried about it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kdemetter (965669)

          True , and exactly that will make sure the scammers get caught.

          The strength of normal scams is that they bring a positive message : they promise lots of money.

          Some people buy that , and lose their money , other people see the hoax , but most of them will just ignore the email and delete it , which means their chances of getting caught are slim .

          If you threaten someone's life , some might take it serious , other will also ignore it , but there's a good chance they will call the cops just to be sure.

          But if yo

      • by pipingguy (566974) *
        What makes you think, gstoddart (321705) Alter Relationship on Friday August 29, @06:02AM (#24792607) Homepage that we don't know your parents' basement address?
        • by gstoddart (321705)

          What makes you think, gstoddart (321705) Alter Relationship on Friday August 29, @06:02AM (#24792607) Homepage that we don't know your parents' basement address?

          My parents don't have a basement you insensitive clod. :-P

          Cheers

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by pipingguy (566974) *
            Ah-ha! Wealthy penthouse-dwellers! Um, your Dad's luxury vehicle will unexpectedly shut down unless...no wait. The elevator will...nah, that won't work. Whatever, just send me money or something bad will happen to you (or somebody else you know) sometime in the future. I bet you're scared now, eh?
      • by kabocox (199019)

        In this case, people might actually believe (as much as you and I can't see how) that someone they know might be in real peril of getting kidnapped. Yup, it's naive, but we know people believe all sorts of things.

        Many relative "rich" business travelers worry about this. It depends on where you are at as to what "rich" is defined as. You make an average salary in the US, and you could be automatically defined as "rich" to alot of parts on the global so you've got to be careful when you doing your traveling.

      • I should think that sending such threats over email is probably a federal crime, and the people doing this are going to be hosed if they get caught.

        I'm sure the authorities in various cities of the former Soviet Union are going to get right on that. I expect a series of arrests imminently.

    • Because a kidnapping almost always ends in the death of the kidnapped?

      Anyway we're talking about a spammer. He's not exactly looking for the best and the brightest is he?

    • by bhtooefr (649901)

      I guess this would be a form of protection racket.

    • Well, if you ignore the fact that this is a scam, kidnappings tend to be emotionally damaging. If someone truly felt that there was a credible threat to a loved one that they couldn't otherwise avoid, it makes sense, in that it would help their loved one avoid undue emotional distress and risk.

      Of course, what makes more sense is contacting the FBI and saying "Hey, some asshole is threatening to kidnap my ..." But who can say.

    • by ccguy (1116865) * on Friday August 29, 2008 @08:27AM (#24792827) Homepage

      I thought it was standard procedure to first kidnap and then request a ransom. Why would people pay a ransom -provided they feel really threatened by the email - if noone is kidnapped yet? They can always pay ransom when the kidnapping is actually done?

      You can pay whenever it is convenient to you. However, let me explain you the options so you can make an informed decision:

      - Paying in advance is hassle-free for all parties involved. You also get a coupon, 20% off the next ransom.
      - Paying in full after the actual ransom has a 30% processing fee.
      - Paying in monthly payments has no surcharge, but we will return your loved one monthly, too.

      hitman.

    • by Arccot (1115809)

      I thought it was standard procedure to first kidnap and then request a ransom. Why would people pay a ransom -provided they feel really threatened by the email - if noone is kidnapped yet? They can always pay ransom when the kidnapping is actually done?

      Depends on who is doing it. Some Sicilian mobs ask for money before the kidnapping. Less hassle for everyone if the victim pays up front. If they don't pay, that's when you start getting increasingly nasty warnings in the form of dead pets, etc.

    • by orasio (188021)

      Farc (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FARC [wikipedia.org]) make you pay in order not to get kidnapped.
      It's more efficient that way.

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      Why would people pay a ransom -provided they feel really threatened by the email - if noone is kidnapped yet? They can always pay ransom when the kidnapping is actually done?

      See US foreign policy:

      "If you are waiting for the smoking gun, when you see the smoke coming out of the gun it is too late: the damage has already been done." -- Ari Fleischer, White House spokesman

    • by stm2 (141831)

      In Argentina there is a widespread crime called "virtual kidnap". The criminal call and tell someone that he has a relative with him and you should pay. A lot of people fall in this scam. Look in internet for "secuestro virtual".

  • Rich folks only (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    According to About.com: [about.com]

    It is known so far that the messages are originating from Moscow, Russia (note the fractured grammar, indicating they were written by non-English speakers) and are being emailed to addresses apparently selected from professional databases (i.e., targeting recipients who presumably have the resources to pay an extortionist).

    I wouldn't expect to receive one of these unless you're wealthy and there's material out on the net attesting to the fact.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      I wouldn't expect to receive one of these unless you're wealthy and there's material out on the net attesting to the fact.

      I disagree. It's far easier (and cheaper) to send email to 1 million addresses than it is to figure out which of those 1 million people might be a good target.

      I've received at least one of these (eg one that's actually made it past my spam filters), and while I completely knew it to be a scam, it still made me feel pretty yucky inside for some reason... imagine how you would feel if you

    • by ed__ (23481) on Friday August 29, 2008 @08:24AM (#24792793) Journal

      According to About.com: [about.com]

      It is known so far that the messages are originating from Moscow, Russia (note the fractured grammar, indicating they were written by non-English speakers) ...

      FBI agent: there's only one country that has english grammar this bad...

      Police Detective: The Russians!

      FBI agent: exactly. It's either them or Mrs. Gleason's 8th grade english class.

      Police Detective: But the Russians have rock solid alibis.

      FBI agent: let's lean on the kids, and see if any of them get nervous.

      • by T.E.D. (34228)

        According to About.com: [about.com]

        It is known so far that the messages are originating from Moscow, Russia (note the fractured grammar, indicating they were written by non-English speakers) ...

        FBI agent: there's only one country that has english grammar this bad...

        Police Detective: The Russians!

        Police Detective: I'll start right away tracking down this "potus@whitehouse.gov". That pesky rusky can't fool us with his cartoonishly bad english!

  • by El Yanqui (1111145) on Friday August 29, 2008 @07:58AM (#24792585) Homepage

    I suspect you have to be gullible and paranoid with a dash of guilty conscience thrown in to fall for this scam.

    Hey you... yeah you. The fat guy with cheetoh stained fingers and an external drive loaded with furry porn. Mod me up or I'll take all your action figures out of their original packaging.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I have mod points, but object to your description of my fingers.

      And my action figures are in a locked vault somewhere in my mother's basement, so good luck with that :P

      Time for some furry porn...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by houghi (78078)

      I suspect you have to be gullible and paranoid with a dash of guilty conscience thrown in to fall for this scam.

      One group of people worldwide: Politicians.

    • by fm6 (162816)

      I suspect you have to be gullible and paranoid with a dash of guilty conscience thrown in to fall for this scam.

      With any spam-driven scam, only one person in a million is gullible enough to fall for it. That's the whole point. If you had a scam that might fool a smart person, you wouldn't waste it on spam. But if people see through your scam 99.9999% of the time, spam is the only way for you to reach that vital 0.0001% of the population you're trying to rip off.

      Sadly, the victims of scams are often elderly people you are a little out of it, and are easily misled. And who are really in a bad way when they lose their l

  • scam? (Score:5, Funny)

    by nimbius (983462) on Friday August 29, 2008 @08:33AM (#24792885) Homepage
    ive been paying him for years. still alive.

    me: 1, phantom interblag assassin: 0.
  • I think a great scam would go like this

    "You dirty bastard, I know you just cheated on your wife, you should be ashamed. Pay me $100 or she'll know everything"

    Cheating is very common, and fear will alter the judgment of the average person (It can't be a spam, how would they *know* I just cheated...). I bet lots of person would pay.

    I don't consider blackmail a crime per se, but that would still be quite a disgusting practice.

  • by bobdotorg (598873) on Friday August 29, 2008 @08:57AM (#24793089)

    Will Mr. Hitman accept as payment the bogus $14,000 cashier's check some Nigerian scammer sent me to buy my $11,000 car?

    Will he Western Union the excess back to me?

    If you ever want to build a collection of fake cashier's checks, list a car on Craigslist.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Friday August 29, 2008 @08:57AM (#24793093) Journal

    This spammer isn't just stealing advertising and committing millions of instances of petty theft. A death threat is a felony in itself, and this clown is racking up enough separate crimes for his sentence to run to thousands of lifetimes.

    -jcr

  • Hitman? (Score:4, Funny)

    by MadJo (674225) on Friday August 29, 2008 @08:59AM (#24793101) Homepage Journal

    Man, that's so old school. I already have a Hitman Pro!

  • Hmmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by idommp (134503)
    Do I get to pick which relative? If I pay extra will he kidnap two of them? just curious how this works.
  • It was only recently that the Piranha brothers hit upon the other other operation, in which they threatened to kill the target unless he paid them the so-called "protection money".

    Of course, Dinsdale is nowhere near as dangerous as Doug.

  • I saw a similar email back in March of this year (and I mentioned it on my web page [boldlygoingnowhere.org]). Just for amusement I tried to contact the sender - both through the from address and the address they asked I reply to - and act a little concerned. I never heard back from them (I'm guessing the email was shut down).

    But really, the email was so vague it could have been sent to anyone. They didn't even mention me by name or location. I wasn't really the least bit concerned as it was sent to an old email address of mi
  • Micropayments (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RyoShin (610051) <.tukaro. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday August 29, 2008 @09:59AM (#24793903) Homepage Journal

    Perfect scenario for micropayments! You could send 2000 e-mails and hope one person will pony up $1000 to avoid any downfall, or you can send 2000 e-mails and offer to take them off your hitlist for a mere dollar. At a low 50% return rate, you've made the original $1000, and the potential for more is much higher!

    Seriously, criminals these days.

  • I have your demanded payment in-hand. Meet me at 1234 Anystreet USA to collect same.

    (loads .44 magnum and waits in darkened room)

    • Ah, don't use a magnum. You blow a hole in the guy the size of the Holland Tunnel and he's not going to survive long enough to suffer all the misery his lame behavior warrants.
    • Why use your real location - either use your local police station, or find some location that Google Maps will send him down a long string of dark country roads to an abandoned factory by a river somewhere...

  • by okmijnuhb (575581) on Friday August 29, 2008 @10:01AM (#24793925)
    I thought it was Windows Genuine Advantage.
  • I need to relax my spam filters so that I can join in the fun of toying with these asshole scammers.

  • to meet somebody called "Guido 'No Neck' Fangioni" I'd be inclined to disbelieve it (as I disbelieve ALL unsolicited email.)

    Its not that some people don't hate me, (I'm sure I've pissed old ex-bosses off, and the like,) but I seriously doubt it'd be worth the risk of looking for a hit-person (they're NOT all male,) or the expense.

    Basically, I'd say: "Well, you gotta do what you gotta do... But I AM armed, dangerous, a fuckin' lunatic, rich enough to devote some time to it, and if I decide to hunt your down,

  • Had to be a mistake. Who could possibly want to kill arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  • FBI Prose (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816)

    ...the FBI is again today warning users to ignore the spam and report any incidents...

    Which is it? Ignore or report?

    The educational requirements to become an FBI agent are supposed to be pretty high. Wouldn't know it from their press releases. I remember during the hunt for the Unabomber they mentioned that a parcel's return address was "factitious."

    • ...the FBI is again today warning users to ignore the spam and report any incidents...

      Which is it? Ignore or report?

      Modded insightful? That's laughable. While some press releases are indeed rather comical, if you're unable to deduce the obvious meaning, you're just being a snide bugger about it. Honestly, I don't think anyone is liable to be confused that the FBI's statement implies that 1) recipients should ignore the threat in the spam and 2) report the incident. It isn't rocket science, it's English! Any

      • by fm6 (162816)

        Please. I'm not a grammar nazi. As far as I'm concerned, grammatical rules are just a convention, and people are entitled to use whatever conventions they want.

        What I am is a clarity nazi. When we send our blackshirts to beat people up, we remind them that there's no substitute for clarity. As they say in the military services, an order or other communication that can be misunderstood, will be misunderstood. Avoiding that situation means avoiding ambiguity, even when the resolution of that ambiguity seems o

    • by MythMoth (73648)

      they mentioned that a parcel's return address was "factitious."

      Which is a real word correct in context and it's not even a neologism. Buy a dictionary.

      • by fm6 (162816)

        Buy one yourself. "Factitious" means "deliberately misleading". Makes no sense for a return address. The right word here is "fictitious".

  • If you are the hitman scammer - you tell you victim to do what? Wire transfer to his bank account? Mail him cash?

    Isn't it supper easy to bust the scammer?

    Just follow the money right?

    What am I missing here?

  • I'm surprised that I didn't notice a comment about the perfect response to this scam:

    Dear Mr. Hitman:

    Please do not kill me. I am the sole means of support for my family, who will be left destitute if I am killed. I will be happy to pay you once I retrieve 10,000,000 (ten million) dollars US which is deposited in the Netherlands. This money is deposited in a locked box in storage and has been left to me by my Uncle who was unexpectedly killed in an airplane crash. If you help be get this money I wil

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