Death threat scam hits Cayman

The first case of the so-called hit-man scam has been reported in the Cayman Islands.

Investigators with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Financial Crimes Unit said a resident informed them about receiving e-mailed demands for money last week. Officers said the e-mails warned the person that they would be killed if they didn’t pay.

‘In this particular instance a specific amount was mentioned…$20,000’ said Detective Chief Inspector Henderson Hunte. ‘(The victim) had some inkling that it might be a scam, but then again, because of the wording of the e-mail there was cause for concern.’

This type of e-mail scam first appeared in the US late last year. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation posted excerpts of one such threat on its website www.fbi.gov.

The e-mail text reads: ‘What you will do now is to tell me that you’re ready to make my advance payment of $20K, then I will provide you the account of where you will need to swift the money, after that I will then arrange a meeting with you and give you all the information you needed as a prove (sic) about the person that is planning to kill you…’

According to the FBI, one person who replied to the e-mail was threatened again by the sender. Officials said the second e-mail contained personal information about the victim’s work address, marital status and a daughter’s full name.

Detective Hunte said the letter posted on the FBI site was similar to the one sent to the Caymanian resident last week. He said anyone else who might receive such e-mails here should not respond.

‘It just sends a signal to the offenders that they have reached a live account,’ Mr. Hunte said. ‘They should contact the Financial Crimes Unit as early as possible, no need to panic. We know it can be intimidating.’

Mr. Hunte also said anyone receiving similar e-mails shouldn’t worry too much if the sender has somehow come up with a few of their personal details.

‘Personal information can be widely available from things like telephone directories and other sources,’ he said.

As with all scams, the RCIPS urges those who are targeted by them never to give out any personal information and to delete unsolicited e-mails before opening them.

The US FBI website also noted that several e-mails have recently surfaced that may be connected to the hit-man scam.

The latest e-mail claims to be from the FBI in London, stating that an arrest has been made for several murders related to this case. The e-mail recipient is told their information was found on the suspect and is asked to contact the FBI in London.

The US FBI said this latest e-mail is also a scam aimed at ferreting out personal information from recipients.

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