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Do I report life-threatening spam?
June 28, 2007 9:00 AM   Subscribe

A sick twist on scam e-mails. Is it worthwhile to do anything about this threatening, extorting e-mail? Has anyone else gotten anything like this?

So, I just got this email. It was obviously blind-copied to untold thousands of people, since the 'to' address is not mine. I have gotten plenty of Nigerian scam e-mails, but have never seen this one. Obviously, I am not concerned that the "threat" is real, but it seems to me that it may still be illegal.

Here is the entire e-mail. Sorry if the formatting turns out funky, I just copied and pasted.

-------------------------------------------------


from DEE CEE 9:37 am (4 minutes ago)
reply-to dee_c@sify.com
to johnwiliams@info.com
date Jun 28, 2007 9:37 AM
subject get back to me immediately
This is the omly way I could contact you for now,I want you to be very
careful about this and keep this secret with you until I make out space
for us to se. You have no need of knowing who I am or where I am
from.I know this may sound very surprising to you but it's the situation.I
have been paid some ransom in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer.It's someone I beleive you call a friend, I have followed you closely for a while now and have seen that you are innocent of the accusations he leveled against you.Do not contact the police or try to send a copy of this to them,because if you do, I will know,and I might be pushed to do what I have been paid to do.Besides, this is the ist time I turn out to be a betrayer in my job.I took pity on you,that is why I have made up my mind to help you if you are willing to help yourself.

Now listen,I will arrange for us to see face to face,but before that, I
need $8000. I will come to your home or you determine where you wish
we meet;I repeat, do not arrange for the cops and if you play hard to
get, it will be extended to your family.Do not set any camera to cover us
or set up any tape to record our conversation, my employer is in my
control now. Payment details will be provided for you to make a part
payment of $4000 first,which will serve as gurantee that you are ready to you
co-orperate,then one of my boys will deliver a copy of the video tape to
that contains his request for me to terminate you(I tape recorded our
conversation),which will be enough evidence for you to take any legal
action against him before he employs another person for the job. You
will pay the balance of $4000 once you receive the tape.

Warning; do not contact the police, make sure you stay indoors once it
is 7.30pm until this whole thing is sorted out,if you neglect any of
these warnimgs, you will have yourself to blame. You do not have much time, so get back to me immediately

Note:I will advise you keep this to yourself alone, not even a friend
or a family member should know about it because it could be one of them.

Good Luck.

--------------------------------------

I Googled a few phrases from the e-mail, and nothing came up, so it's probably a new one. The reply-to server, sify.com, is an "Indian News Portal" site.

I am pretty pissed off that someone thinks they can send something like this, and pissed that people may fall for it. I've been around the Internet block a few times, and have never seen anything quite like this. Oh, and it made it really special to get this on my birthday.

So... anyone else seen this? Is it worth reporting to law enforcement? Or is that just a waste of time? And if it's one of YOU that has a hit out on me, you will be sooooo banned from MeFi!

Thanks!
posted by The Deej to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I saw something on the news about these the other day, that (of course) some elderly have already fallen prey, but that this is indeed just a sick fucking scam. I'd report it were it in my inbox.
posted by tristeza at 9:03 AM on June 28, 2007


I heard about this scam on Fox radio I think (the shame!), it was this same email almost word for word, and they told anyone who got it to go to the police. It wasn't clear though what the police were planning to do, and they did emphasize that there was no real threat of violence behind the email (they made the point that thousands of people got the same thing) covering their asses I think.
posted by crabintheocean at 9:07 AM on June 28, 2007


Yeah, on the 419 eater forums (a scambaiting site) some people have been discussing this same kind of email. It's just a twist on your typical Nigerian scam - send us money or else we kill you, blah blah blah. Check this this thread out.
posted by flod logic at 9:10 AM on June 28, 2007


It is a scam:

http://www.fbi.gov/page2/jan07/threat_scam011507.htm
posted by Comrade_robot at 9:11 AM on June 28, 2007


(Yes, yes, I know it's a scam. But thanks for the link.)
posted by The Deej at 9:17 AM on June 28, 2007


I suppose it wouldn't hurt to report it, but I seriously doubt the police will do anything about it.
posted by boreddusty at 9:22 AM on June 28, 2007


Probably should've mentioned it in my first post, but there's not much sense in reporting it to the police since there's little they can do to help people who actually get scammed, much less one person out of the hundreds of thousands in Nigeria who sends out scam emails, even if they are fake death threats. This person has no idea who you are or where you live but is hoping you're gullible enough to believe they do, and want to kill you on top of that. They just want your money. So the best bet is to just ignore it.

Sidenote: But...if you really want, open up a throwaway email account (somewhere that hides your ip address, like gmail, fastmail.fm, etc.), make up a fake name, and mess with the guy. Tell him you're trying to warn him about his death or that you're suicidal and will pay him good money to kill you. You'll see he'll probably stick to his script (they're quite lazy) and tell you he just wanted to warn you but you're a "stupid ingrate" or something. It's kinda fun.
posted by flod logic at 9:31 AM on June 28, 2007


This was on CNN last week.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 9:38 AM on June 28, 2007


It's the new trend. I guess too many people know about the "I've got all this money and only YOU can help me!" one. It's sad that they would go this low, though.
posted by Meagan at 10:07 AM on June 28, 2007


To actually answer your question, the best thing you can do is inform others. I remember reading about this a few days ago online, but I'm not sure how large an audience it reached; however it's good that a warning is starting to float around online. Tell your friends and family, so if they get one they'll know it's fake. Especially tell your elderly or otherwise non-computer or spam savvy friends, as like you said, someone may fall for it. But other than that, I don't think there's much you can do.
posted by Meagan at 10:16 AM on June 28, 2007


Post full headers so we can trace it back to origin. The reply-to shouldn't be trusted as that's easily specified via most email clients.
posted by Mutant at 10:17 AM on June 28, 2007


Oh, wow, that thread of flod logic's is amazing. One of them wrote back with a sob story about how their ten-year-old daughter was dying of cancer, and the scammer confessed everything!
PLS FORGIVE ME,I AM JUST A SCAMMER,BUT I DO HAVE CONCIENCE,SOMEONE HACKED MY BOX THIS MORNING,HE/SHE WILL BE WRITTING YOU WITH IT,DO NOT REPLY TO ANY MAIL FROM THIS BOX,IT IS NOT REAL,NO ONE IS GOING TO KILL YOU,I DO NOT EVEN KNOW WERE YOU ARE.

AM SORRY I SCAM,NIGERIA IS VERY HARD FOR YOUTHS LIKE US.

FORGIVE ME.

MY NAME IS DANNY.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 10:21 AM on June 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


My co-worker at MSNBC.com, Bob Sullivan, wrote a very useful and informative Weblog post about this kind of thing back in May.
posted by GaelFC at 10:29 AM on June 28, 2007


The fact that this isn't considered to be a scam on sight does not bode well for the future of the human race.

Some basic survival skills are required in this digital age; among the hazards one may face are situations that seem too good or too bad to be true. Since we are talking about life and not some cheesy movie plot the fact that you stated that the email was "blind-copied to untold thousands of people" should be a big indicator that you are not at personal risk. This is lazy extortion-by-numbers, counting on the economy of scale to tip the balance in the favor of the extorter.

Unless you are leading a very interesting life, the chances of someone extorting you are astronomically slim; even if you were being exploited, the chance that the things stated in the email actually do apply to not just you but also to those untold thousands make your risk so close to zero as to be near unmentionable.

Sure, YOU realized this, but the fact that you are concerned that others might not realize this pretty much means we are doomed, because you are right. Tune in next week when the 5 oclock news will tell us the harrowing story of someone who fell for this specific ploy, only to find their life-savings vanished without a trace. The news will be full of consolations and concern, when they ought to be going around smacking people.
posted by foobario at 10:33 AM on June 28, 2007


Here is a link to the FBI press release for this scam. There is a place at the bottom to report the crime.
posted by scooters.toad at 10:39 AM on June 28, 2007


Thanks for responses so far. I'll post the full headers and look into the other links when I get back from some errands.

I will pursue this to a certain extent. I just got done reading The Tipping Point, so it makes me feel some responsibility to do something, no matter how small.

If you don't hear from me after 7:30.... (cue Dramatic Chipmunk) da da DUHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
posted by The Deej at 12:59 PM on June 28, 2007


It's 10:30pm pst... I guess the Nigerians got him. Dang. Poor The Deej...!
posted by miss lynnster at 10:30 PM on June 28, 2007


Thanks for your concern Miss L! I am alive as of just past midnight. My coffee date kept me out till almost 9 (after 7:30!!!!!!!! YIKES!!!!!!) Then I took my kid to a movie. I am back on the case.
posted by The Deej at 11:16 PM on June 28, 2007


Full headers below... now... off to read the links y'all provided.
----------------
Delivered-To: darryl.asher@gmail.com
Received: by 10.78.195.17 with SMTP id s17cs201205huf;
Thu, 28 Jun 2007 08:37:33 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by 10.90.66.9 with SMTP id o9mr1862422aga.1183045052647;
Thu, 28 Jun 2007 08:37:32 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path:
Received: from mercury.hostspectrum.com (mercury.hostspectrum.com [206.123.100.20])
by mx.google.com with ESMTP id o29si4514668elf.2007.06.28.08.37.32;
Thu, 28 Jun 2007 08:37:32 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: neutral (google.com: 206.123.100.20 is neither permitted nor denied by domain of johnwiliams@bellsouth.net)
Received: from darrylas by mercury.hostspectrum.com with local-bsmtp (Exim 4.63)
(envelope-from )
id 1I3w3j-0003Q1-6u
for darryl@darrylasher.com; Thu, 28 Jun 2007 10:37:31 -0500
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.2.1 (2007-05-02) on
mercury.hostspectrum.com
X-Spam-Level: ***
X-Spam-Status: No, score=3.6 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_99,RDNS_NONE
autolearn=no version=3.2.1
Received: from [205.152.59.68] (helo=imf20aec.mail.bellsouth.net)
by mercury.hostspectrum.com with esmtp (Exim 4.63)
(envelope-from )
id 1I3w3i-0003PZ-H8
for darryl@darrylasher.com; Thu, 28 Jun 2007 10:37:27 -0500
Received: from ibm62aec.bellsouth.net ([192.168.16.253])
by imf20aec.mail.bellsouth.net with ESMTP
id <2 0070628153723.luig20455.imf20aec.mail.bellsouth.net@ibm62aec.bellsouth.net>
for ; Thu, 28 Jun 2007 11:37:23 -0400
Received: from mail.bellsouth.net ([192.168.16.253])
by ibm62aec.bellsouth.net with SMTP
id <2 0070628153723.kpzj4057.ibm62aec.bellsouth.net@mail.bellsouth.net>;
Thu, 28 Jun 2007 11:37:23 -0400
X-Mailer: Openwave WebEngine, version 2.8.16.1 (webedge20-101-1106-101-20040924)
X-Originating-IP: [86.62.11.170]
From: DEE CEE
Reply-To: dee_c@sify.com
Organization: DEE CEE
To:
Subject: get back to me immediately
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 11:37:22 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Message-Id: <2 0070628153723.kpzj4057.ibm62aec.bellsouth.net@mail.bellsouth.net>
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname - mercury.hostspectrum.com
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain - darrylasher.com
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID - [32070 12] / [47 12]
X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain - bellsouth.net
X-Source:
X-Source-Args: /usr/sbin/exim -Mc 1I3w3i-0003PZ-H8
X-Source-Dir: /tmp

posted by The Deej at 11:30 PM on June 28, 2007


I'm surprised your phrase search didn't work - this was one of the first hits for one of the lines, randomly pasted into Google:
Snopes Hitman Scam

posted by meehawl at 11:01 AM on June 29, 2007


Thanks meehawl. I did notice that the wording differs slightly among the many versions. I put my strings in quotes, so that may have narrowed it too much.

In any event, I was also seeking opinions about whether it's worth reporting.
posted by The Deej at 12:05 PM on June 29, 2007


I checked out the snopes link, meehawl. Thanks again, good info.

This particular scam infuriates me. Too bad the perpetrators will probably never be tracked down.
posted by The Deej at 12:13 PM on June 29, 2007


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