‘Hitman scam’ targets Altona residents using bitcoin: police

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Police say residents in Altona, Man., have been targeted by a bizarre email scam telling people to pay up or face a hitman.

Altona police Chief Perry Batchelor said police in the southwestern Manitoba town has received two complaints about the scam, and denounced it for its frightening language.

“We’ve had a couple of complaints now in the community where people have received alarming emails with very disturbing verbiage, indicating there’s been a hit put on their life and in order to avoid getting killed — and it’s that type of language — they need to send, in one case, $2,500 in bitcoin to an address, of course, offshore,” said Batchelor.

If the victim pays, the scammer then says they will tell the victim who put a hit on them — but of course, all communication ceases once payment is made.

“It’s cruel. There really is no other word that comes to my mind.”

The scammers send the victim a direct email and the way it’s worded scares the victims, he added.

“It’s tough on people reading that type of language, that there is somebody out to kill you.”

The first complaint came to the police service about two weeks ago, said Batchelor, and at first, he hoped it was a one-off.

“But it seems as though it is picking up a little bit of momentum and we received our second complaint [Monday],” he said, adding police are a “little bit concerned about it.… Where there’s two there’s probably several.”

So far, no one has said they actually sent the scammer money, said Batchelor, and anyone who does receive this type of email is encouraged to report it to police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

“I would say anybody with a past that may think somebody’s actually put a hit out on them, but certainly some of the more senior folk may find this very disturbing, and I hope they reach out to family and police before sending any currency.

“And maybe the saving grace here is these guys only deal in cyber currency and bitcoin, because I, for one, have no idea how to send you bitcoin. So hopefully that’s something that saves us any victims right there.”

Read the original story over at CBC News.

This story was summarized by Canadian Fraud News Inc.