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Tips to deal with the Hitman text message scam

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Here’s a scam that ranks right near the top in the scary department. It’s called the “Hitman Scam.” Once upon a time, back in the days before text messages, this was an email scam. Now, it’s alive and well in the form of a text message sent to your cell phone with the promise that you will die if you don’t pay up.

According to a recent Scam Alert by the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org), here are two examples of text messages you could receive.

  • "Sum1 paid me to kill you. get spared, 48hrs to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised...E-mail me now."
  • "Someone paid me to kill you.I will spare you, I give you 2 days to pay $5000.If you inform the police, you will die.I am monitoring you."

Here are three tips on what to do if you receive one of these messages. One thing you should never do is follow instructions in the text to stop future messages. Spammers use instructions such at “text STOP” to prevent future texts as a way to confirm they have a live number.

  • Delete the text. If you don’t want to be bothered with reporting the message, delete it so you will not accidentally respond to it in the future.
  • Block that number. I wasn’t aware of this trick until recently. All four of the major cell phone carriers allow you to forward text messages to 7726 (SPAM). This alerts your carrier to block future texts from those numbers and they may start an investigation.
  • Report the text. Unwanted texts that are selling products or impersonating a business can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov). If the message threatens physical harm, report it to the local police.

Find Terry’s featured content with real scam tips, author interviews, and book reviews at terryambrose.com.

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