An Abbotsford man received an email in which the sender indicated he had been hired to kill the person for $12,000, but he didn’t want to go through with it.
Instead, the hit man suggested the victim pay the cash and, in exchange, his life would be spared. Even better, the individual would help the victim work with the authorities to help capture the person who had contracted the hit.
The 24-year-old recipient of the email reported the message to the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) on March 23. It was then that he discovered he had been the victim of “the hit man scam,” a scheme that has circulated around the world, starting in 2006.
APD Const. Ian MacDonald said police discovered the email received locally had originated from the United States. They had to convince the recipient that it was a scam by showing him online reports warning consumers about it.
“The person who received the email has had a bit of an eventful life and has had some trouble in the past, so he took it a bit more seriously than he would have under other circumstances,” MacDonald said.
The FBI in the U.S. has warned that the perpetrators of the scam hope to not only solicit cash, but to obtain personal data so they can steal identities.
Recipients of the message are encouraged to avoid sending a reply.
A second similar incident was reported to the APD last week, but involved an early April Fool’s Day prank.
MacDonald said a 21-year-old Saskatchewan man called the APD at about 10 p.m. on March 31 to report that he had received a troubling text message from a phone number in Abbotsford.
The message said, “Okay, I’ve hid the body. What now?”
Police used the phone number to track down the 19-year-old man who had sent it. No further action was taken.
“In that instance, we were satisfied that it was an ill-intentioned practical joke,” MacDonald said.