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It was a heck of a way to start the new year, said Mark Stevens.

Stevens logged onto his email New Year's Day, finding a message from a supposed hit man threatening to kill him.

When you see something like that you definitely pay attention, said the retired Arlington man.

The message told Stevens that someone wanted him dead, and the only way to keep from being murdered would be to pay off the hit man. The FBI says the email is a scam, the latest spin off of the old Nigerian Prince ripoff that has been making the rounds on the Internet for years.

Instead of praying on a person's greed, they were playing on fear, Stevens says, a basic human instinct.

The email is fake, but chilling nonetheless. Different variations have made their way into people's in boxes. One iteration states that international authorities have made an arrest in the case, and that the recipient should reply to help in the investigation.

Typically, scams like this are boiler plates mass mailed around the world. Their trademarks are a lack of specificity with regard to the recipient's name, location, or family members. The FBI says if you receive a generic email like this, disregard it. If the email has more personal information you should report it to police.

Text from hit man email scam:

Good Day Friend.

Am very sorry for you my friend, is a pity that this is how your life
is going to end as soon as you don't comply. As you can see there is
no need of introducing myself to you because I don't have any business
with you, my duty as I am mailing you now is just to KILL/ASSASINATE
you and I have to do it as I have already been paid for that.

Someone you call a friend wants you Dead by all means, and the person
have spent a lot of money on this, the person also came to us and told
me that he want you dead and he provided us with your name, picture
and other necessary information's we needed about you. So I sent my
boys to track you down and they have carried out the necessary
investigation needed for the operation on you, and they have done that
but I told them not to kill you that I will like to contact you and
see if your life is Important to you or not since their findings shows
that you are innocent.

I called my client back and ask him of you email address which I
didn't tell him what I wanted to do with it and he gave it to me and I
am using it to contact you now. As I am writing to you now my men are
monitoring you and they are telling me everything about you.

Now do you want to LIVE OR DIE? As someone has paid us to kill you.
Get back to me now if you are ready to pay some fees to spare your
life, If you are not ready for my help, then I will carry on with my
job straight-up.

WARNING: DO NOT THINK OF CONTACTING THE POLICE OR EVEN TELL ANYONE
BECAUSE I WILL KNOW. REMEMBER, SOMEONE WHO KNOWS YOU VERY WELL WANT
YOU DEAD! I WILL EXTEND IT TO YOUR FAMILY, INCASE I NOTICE SOMETHING
FUNNY.

DO NOT COME OUT ONCE IT IS 7:30PM UNTIL I MAKE OUT TIME TO SEE YOU AND
GIVE YOU THE TAPE OF MY DISCUSSION WITH THE PERSON WHO WANT YOU DEAD
AFTER YOU HAVE COMPLIED WITH MY DEMANDS, THEN YOU CAN USE IT TO TAKE
ANY LEGAL ACTION. GOOD LUCK AS I AWAIT YOUR REPLY

Regards

Don Vanuchi

Related links:

http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-alert-hit-man-e-mail-scam-persists

http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/hitman.asp




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