Authorities Warn of ‘Hit Man” E-mail Scam

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Most of us have to deal with junk mail in our e-mail - but it's probably the last place you'd expect to hear from a hit man.

According to authorities in Marion County, Missouri, a resident there received an e-mail in a murder-for-hire scam in which criminals demand money in exchange for sparing the recipient's life.

"These particular scams do have a common thread in that they're not trying to only scare you, (but they're trying) to scare you into taking immediate action so if you tell someone you're going to be killed, you're on a hit list. They're going to run out get the money, wire transfer, just to get that off the plate," said retired FBI agent Michal Tabman.

Tabman says that if someone you don't know is asking you for money online, it's a scam. Most people don't fall for it, but Tabman says that if a criminal fishes long enough then someone's bound to take the bait.

"There's no cost involved here - they can send out thousands, if not millions, of emails and if they get a small percentage of people responding, then it's a good return on their investment," said Tabman.

Master Deputy Rick Howell of the Johnson County, KS, Sheriff's Office says that these scams aren't new to his office, but he says that there are some things you can do in the event that you get a suspicious e-mail.

"Don't engage in conversation with the person, capture the email if you can, turn it over to your local authorities," said Howell. "The criminal mind is more concerned about themselves than they are anybody else. They're trying to get your money, your personal information, and they'll go to all lengths to try and get that."

Both Tabman and Howell say that the majority of these e-mails come from overseas. Authorities in Marion County say that they tracked the e-mail last week to someone in Russia. Tabman says that it's never a good idea to try and scam a scam artist.

"It can get dangerous," said Tabman. "Generally these are just punks who can make money, but you don't know what criminal enterprise you may be getting involved with. Just stay out of it."

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