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Australia Cellphones Crime Spam

Australians Receive SMS Death Threats 192

Posted by timothy
from the get-to-the-next-payphone dept.
beaverdownunder writes "Many Aussies across New South Wales and South Australia had a bit of a shock this morning when they received an SMS threatening them with assassination. Although somewhat varied, the messages have typically read, 'Someone paid me to kill you. If you want me to spare you, I'll give you two days to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, you will die, I am monitoring you', and signed with the e-mail address killerking247@yahoo.com. Police and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have warned that the messages are almost certainly fake, and that no dialogue should be entered into with scammers." I hope "almost certainly" is droll understatement.
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Australians Receive SMS Death Threats

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2012 @04:43AM (#40734467)
    I paid good money to have you guys assassinated.
    • Trolololo (Score:5, Funny)

      by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Monday July 23, 2012 @08:12AM (#40735165)

      "Hello! I understand why you would want to kill a Nigerian prince, however, my country is in turmoil and my money is tied from my hands. Please allow me to send you a check for $30,000 which you can cash and please Western Union all but your $5000 back to me at this address: ..."

    • I paid good money to have you guys assassinated.

      How much did you pay to have the entire country of Australia assassinated? Did they give you some kind of group rate?

      • Does anyone know the current $/km^2 of destruction for nuclear devices is these days?
        • Does anyone know the current $/km^2 of destruction for nuclear devices is these days?

          It's a logarithmic scale with respect to megatons vs radius. Asteroid deorbinting might be more cost effective for something as big as a continent.

          • Does anyone know the current $/km^2 of destruction for nuclear devices is these days?

            It's a logarithmic scale with respect to megatons vs radius. Asteroid deorbinting might be more cost effective for something as big as a continent.

            Biological warfare is significantly more cost-effective.

            For Reference See: Rabbits, Camels, Toads.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2012 @04:43AM (#40734469)

    Do not moderate it or report it to the moderators. I am watching you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2012 @04:48AM (#40734479)

    Commisioner also stated that "You're almost certainly unlikely to be found dead in the bush 7 days after the message. Reason of death won't probably be 20-25 stab wounds in all body parts. There's practically no possibility your eyes will be burned out with hot iron. We find it very improbable that you will be dismembered with a piano wire and disemboweled. There is no reason for panic. Probably."

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday July 23, 2012 @04:50AM (#40734481)
    In England at least, judges have determined that SMS messages and Twitter have exactly the same status as any other written publication. Australian law is, I believe, based on English law. So: this would be a blackmail attempt. Five years' jail for every message seems about right. They need to find him and then he can spend the rest of his life locked in his parents' basement. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much what will happen if they don't catch him.
    • by Antarius (542615) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:35AM (#40734645)

      Australian law is, I believe, based on English law.

      Back during the colonial days and original formation of the states, this was true. But once the states were formed, they were given limited independence to create their own laws (which had to be approved by the Crown at the time, such as with South Australia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Australia_Act_1834 [wikipedia.org] )

      Full Independence was granted years later, and we now make our own laws as we see fit. Some of them logical, some of them even more fucked up than ever.

      • by mrclisdue (1321513) on Monday July 23, 2012 @06:08AM (#40734735)

        Nowadays, Australian law is based on what the USA wants.

        cheers,

        • by Antarius (542615) on Monday July 23, 2012 @07:17AM (#40734949)
          I'd love to argue with you and point out instances where you're mistaken, but I'm buggered if I can.

          Between our Patriot-Act-inspired anti-terrorism laws that came in for our good buddy Dubbya; our support for ACTA; our one-sided Free Trade Agreement which screws ourselves; and now the US Marines base in the Northern Territory (because Woomera wasn't enough).

          Well, we've effectively ceded control over ourselves to the US.

          I'm all for supporting our allies, and the US provides us with great protection, but we're legislating ourselves into being conquered.
          • For some years now that the north-americans are trying to do the same thing here in Brazil. But luckily the local politicians involved are too stupid to have complete success.
            • by Antarius (542615)
              That's good. We're already evidently competing with the Canadians to become the 51st state. We don't want more competition ;)
          • To be fair, between the Outback Steakhouse, Crocodile Dundee, and Foster's, Americans love (their woefully inaccurate perception of) you guys too much to conquer you.

        • by sco08y (615665)

          Nowadays, Australian law is based on what the USA wants.

          To think I used to be proud to have been born in Australia. What a bunch of crybabies.

        • Dude, we can't even agree on the laws we want for ourselves, how could we ever agree on what to impose on others?

      • by Wizard Drongo (712526) <wizard_drongo AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk> on Monday July 23, 2012 @07:29AM (#40734979)

        I think what he meant was that English law and Australian law share a lot of similarities because Aus law is based on the English law; indeed a lot of the Acts are the same, because they predate the split. Hence a lot of Australian courts will take english court decisions into mind, as "non-binding precedence"; indeed, even US courts have been known to do this from time to time.
        Hence the ruling in an English court that a twitter update can be regarded i the same way as any other written document, could be used in an Aus. court as a "well here's what they did" precedence. Obviously, assuming Aus. has no such law or similar precedent in their own legal history.

        • by Antarius (542615)
          Ahh, got you. I thought he was meaning that all of our laws were merely a copy of the UK ones.

          If laws haven't been enacted here, we do look at precedents set in other states, then other countries. The UK and the US being some of the more obvious examples. In this case, however, the Australian Telecommunications Act already covers these things and is quite unlike the UK version.

          But ultimately, the political parties usually have their own agenda. If we looked at more forward-thinking countries and our or
    • They need to find him and then he can spend the rest of his life locked in his parents' basement. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much what will happen if they don't catch him.

      <pathos>Will no-one think of the parents?</pathos>

    • by Nursie (632944) on Monday July 23, 2012 @06:57AM (#40734883)

      Should be more than blackmail, this is harassment and a direct threat of harm, which I'm pretty sure is illegal in a large variety of ways.

      The police *should* be chasing this one pretty hard as it will have scared the pants off more than a few people. They probably won't though.

  • Assumptions ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MSojka (83577) on Monday July 23, 2012 @04:51AM (#40734485)

    I hope "almost certainly" is droll understatement.

    It certainly is. On the other hand, assume you can send SMSes in a way which is not traceable and comparatively cheap. Assume you want the entire police force of some place - say, New South Wales - to be too busy and way less effective. Assume you want to commit some other crime which would greatly benefit from the police force in that place being too busy chasing phantoms.

    What would you do?

    • Hmm "Die Hard 3" ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Pieroxy (222434)

      What would you do?

      I'd grab a beer, start up the BBQ, prepare some T-Bones with some olive oil and some spices, and lay out in the sun.

      Did I win?

      • by MSojka (83577)

        What would you do?

        I'd grab a beer, start up the BBQ, prepare some T-Bones with some olive oil and some spices, and lay out in the sun.

        Did I win?

        Possibly the "balls of steel" award for doing that in the middle of winter. As mild as it might be at the moment, the evenings can get frosty. ;)

        The thing is, even if the thread is empty and just meant to help another crime (extortion or worse), if only one person gets murdered, even in a totally unrelated act, and the police didn't say what they said, they'd face

      • What would you do?

        I'd grab a beer, start up the BBQ, prepare some T-Bones with some olive oil and some spices, and lay out in the sun.

        Did I win?

        Maaaaaaayte!

        You forgot the shrimp!

    • I hope "almost certainly" is droll understatement.

      It certainly is.

      Nah, timothy's just drolling!

    • by jamesh (87723) on Monday July 23, 2012 @06:47AM (#40734853)

      I hope "almost certainly" is droll understatement.

      It certainly is. On the other hand, assume you can send SMSes in a way which is not traceable and comparatively cheap. Assume you want the entire police force of some place - say, New South Wales - to be too busy and way less effective. Assume you want to commit some other crime which would greatly benefit from the police force in that place being too busy chasing phantoms.

      What would you do?

      Mod you -1, Droll.

    • Re:Assumptions ... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ignavus (213578) on Monday July 23, 2012 @07:16AM (#40734939)

      Assume you want the entire police force of some place - say, New South Wales - to be too busy and way less effective.

      What would you do?

      Elect Barry O'Farrell as Premier.

      • Assume you want the entire police force of some place - say, New South Wales - to be too busy and way less effective.

        What would you do?

        Elect Barry O'Farrell as Premier.

        I just can't decide if I should mod this Informative, Insightful or Funny... all 3 apply equally.

    • Im pretty sure they dont assign "the entire police force" to a single issue, particularly one like this. Seems far more likely "get warrant from courts for SMS records" would just get tacked onto the end of one officer's to-do list.

    • I hope "almost certainly" is droll understatement.

      It certainly is. On the other hand, assume you can send SMSes in a way which is not traceable and comparatively cheap. Assume you want the entire police force of some place - say, New South Wales - to be too busy and way less effective. Assume you want to commit some other crime which would greatly benefit from the police force in that place being too busy chasing phantoms.

      What would you do?

      Why "another crime"?

      If I'd been paid to kill someone, this sounds

    • by Tom (822)

      What would you do?

      Something that works. The main police officer busied by this is the PR guy. Sure they'll track the SMS source down and do something about it. Total manpower expended? Ridiculous.

      Plant a real bomb with a non-working but dangerously looking detonator near the train station so that it's discovered 20 minutes before you rob your bank (say, by putting it near the trash bins and knowing when the waste disposal truck comes). You'll have the C&C center busy and quite a bunch of policemen to control the area.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2012 @04:51AM (#40734487)

    This is a fairly common scam usually received by e-mail. Lot of examples on www.419-eater.com where these types of scammers are known as hitlads.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      This is a fairly common scam usually received by e-mail. Lot of examples on www.419-eater.com where these types of scammers are known as hitlads.

      The big difference in this case is that it came in by phone (SMS) and not email, therefore people will assume it's a tasteless prank and ignore it rather than take it seriously.

      I'm not joking, people in Oz are a lot smarter about receiving unsolicited commercial messages via phone than email.

  • by arse maker (1058608) on Monday July 23, 2012 @04:57AM (#40734503)

    People who are wanting to commit suicide are finally getting valet service.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:06AM (#40734531) Journal

    But I did get a spam once from someone claiming that he had evidence that would land me in prison, and threatening to report me to the FBI unless I immediately wrote back for instructions on how to pay him.

    I did reply with a rather graphic description of the services his parents perform for sailors, and never heard from him again.

    -jcr

  • This type of scam is quite common. Why is this news? The anti scam sites are full of stories of these scammers being baited to annoy then. Plug the text phrase into Google and you should find it reported verbatum on anti scam sites and scam baiting sites.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by shiftyphil (697626)
      Mass SMS message rather than email seems to be the main difference.
      • Who's going to trust a "killer" who was hired to kill you that is willing to be bought off? Doesn't sound like a very reliable sort to me. So you pay him off, he keeeellls you anyway, and you're out $5000. Or something.
  • Hmmm who to call - the police or the ACCC ? Not sure the ACCC would pop into my head in this situation.
  • You can add Queensland to the list. My wife got the 'death threat' SMS. As far as I'm aware, it costs real $ to originate SMS's so hopefully it is traceable.

  • um... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:27AM (#40734619)

    The last time I checked everything in Australia will kill you in various ways so why would an extra assassin matter? Target a place where everything that moves isn't an assassin.

  • by ad454 (325846) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:39AM (#40734657)

    Reminds me of an old Kids-in-the-Hall skit:

    Casher: "And another $5 for the Stupidity Tax."
    Customer: "Stupidity Tax? What's that?"
    Casher: "Oh, since you asked about it, you don't have to pay."

    You previously see the casher successfully get away with charging the tax with the other "stupid" customers.

    The reason why we have so much spam and other scams is because there are enough stupid people to make it economically viable.

  • Has anyone tried contacting killerking247@yahoo.com yet? That email account must be bloody famous right now.
  • Many years ago I received an email claiming to be from Al-Qaeda with an order to kill me. If they are actually trying to kill me, it must from boredom because I haven't seen any other serious effects from it. They also said they would spare my life if I sent them a large sum of cash.

    Oddly enough when I replied to them from a throwaway email address asking them for more information they never got back to me.
  • I've left the money in a brown paper bag on the back deck.

    ---
    Then wait for them to explain why, when they've been watching you all along, they suddenly need to know your address.

  • USA VER (Score:4, Funny)

    by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Monday July 23, 2012 @08:44AM (#40735317)

    IF YOU don't send me $500 I will TXT spam you endlessly and on most plans where you pay up to $0.25 for each TXT it will add up quickly

    • I think that's called the switch to US Cellular scam lol. They're the only company to do unlimited incoming anything from anywhere at any time. I hopped on that like Oprah on cheese and was wondering what exactly was mentally wrong with people over at the Verizon and AT&T stores. Anyone anywhere being able to cost you any amount of money with no way to stop it seems like a LITTLE bit of a vulnerability in the logic of their plans.
  • The killer just got his new phone...
  • by davidwr (791652) on Monday July 23, 2012 @10:53AM (#40736517) Homepage Journal

    He should've sent a followup:

    "The previous SMS was sent to many people in error. Only one of your lives is in danger. If you send me $5000 I'll let you know if it's you."

  • I received that exact threat about a month ago. It was obviously horse sh*t so I didn't worry about it. I got it by email (at my work account) about three days after LinkedIn got its database hacked, so I assume they got my email address from LinkedIn.

    Either these guys are a bunch of copycatters, or the same thing is happening. If I recall LinkedIn (like everyone else) wanted my cellphone number so they can contact me "in case of emergency." I f*cking hate that - I don't want everyone to have my cellpho

  • Many businesses that sell police and military equipment balk at the idea of selling body armor to average janes and joes. Recent events have probably heightened their vigilance and paranoia.

    One company told me that they would make exceptions in the case of special circumstances, and specifically mentioned "death threats". If you have an SMS death threat, get your body armor now while it's cheap and available to you.

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