AG: Extortion Moves On-Line

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Most of us treat spam as a simple nuisance, but one scam takes spam to a new, frightening level.

Imagine opening an e-mail and reading a message from an alleged hit man, claiming that you are his next target unless you pay him thousands of dollars to cancel the contract on your life.  The hit man claims he is following you and warns you not to contact law enforcement, unless you want to place your family's safety in jeapordy.  This sort of extortion e-mail first began circulating last December, and since that time, the FBI has received more than 100 complaints regarding the "killer spam."  In Arkansas, the Public Protection Dept. of the Attorney General's office has recently received numerous complaints about this scam from consumers across the state.  Accordingly, today, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert to inform Arkansans about this particular brand of extortion spam.

"If you get one of these e-mails, the important thing to remember is that it is not a real threat," said McDaniel.  "It's just an e-mail from another scam artist who hopes your fears will translate into a big payday for him."

If you see one of these e-mails in your inbox, here are some tips that will help you avoid falling victim to this scam:

-Immediately delete all suspicious e-mails, and never open e-mail attachments from unknown sources.

-Never give out personal information in response to an unsolicited e-mail.  Doing so will make you vulnerable to identity theft.

-Never give money in response to an unsolicited e-mail, whether it is in response to a threat or to claim something you supposedly won.  Once you hand over your money, you're not likely to see it again.

-Don't let fear cloud your is highly unlikely that someone was hired to kill you.

If you receive one of these e-mail scams, you can file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at  You can also forward the e-mail to the AG's office at