WHITEHALL (KDKA) — The Whitehall Police Department is warning people on Facebook about a text message scam making the rounds.
It’s called “Hitman” and there’s a bit of a shock value involved.
Police say a woman in the Whitehall area got a text from someone she didn’t know.
The person claimed they had been hired to kill her but would spare her life if she paid $5,000.
The text message began with: “Hello. A friend/family of yours paid me to kill you. To spare your life you have 48 hours to pay the sum of $5,000.”
It goes on to say that in exchange the sender will send you a video: “I recorded every discussion I had with my client, so you can know who wants you dead.”
It ends with a warning that if the recipient contacts the police, they will be killed. “Remember I am watching you,” it warns, and then urges the victim to email the scammer at the address “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
While it’s scary to get a message like this, police say responding to the scammers just lets them know they’ve reached a live account and that often escalates the threat.
Police say the scam has been going around, and with most scams, “Hitman” has been around before.
It was back in 2007 when people in our area were receiving emails instead of text messages. Once again from a supposed hitman willing to cut you a break in exchange for money.
FBI Agent William P. Shore told KDKA at the time that the scammer also offered not to kill the recipient in exchange for thousands of dollars.
If you get one of these messages, Whitehall Police say the best thing to do is to ignore it and continue on with your day. You can also report it to police or to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.