CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Police want to spread the word about a form of email scam that has been showing up in email inboxes in Southwest Florida.
According to Cape Coral Police, potential victims get a message from supposed 'hitmen' who claim they've been hired to kill you. They then give you a chance to pay them off to avoid a tragic fate.
Police say anyone who responds is instructed to arrange a money transfer or put money on a "Green Dot" card, neither of which is easily traceable.
Responding victims may also be vulnerable to cyber attacks that compromise their personal information.
“There really are no depths to which these guys won’t sink,” said Det. Sergeant David Gleason of the Cape Coral Police Department Financial Crimes Unit. “They send this in hopes of generating fear and hope that the victim will overreact emotionally and let their guard down.”
Here are some tips police have for dealing with e-mail scams:
- Delete email and text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information (credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.). Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email or text.
- The messages may appear to be from organizations you do business with – banks, for example. They might threaten to close your account or take other action if you don’t respond.
- Don’t reply, and don’t click on links or call phone numbers provided in the message, either. These messages direct you to spoof sites – sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information so a scammer can run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
- Area codes can mislead, too. Some scammers ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access a "refund." But a local area code doesn’t guarantee that the caller is local.
- If you’re concerned about your account or need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.
For more information on how to protect yourself from email scams, go to https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing