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ITS Safe Computing

"Hit Man" e-mail threat

A threatening mass email campaign has been re-appearing in U-M email boxes – the hit-man threat.  Instead of attempting to obtain account or personal identification information, the scam is preying on recipients’ fears and demanding money.  Several U-M employees have reported to the U-M Department of Public Safety (DPS) that they received email messages which included threats to kill the recipients unless they paid thousands of dollars.

Contact DPS
If you receive one of these messages in your University email, contact DPS at (734) 763-1131 to file a police report. DPS originally sent a Security Bulletin in mid-August regarding this scam, but these threatening emails have been appearing again.

FBI Warning
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been warning the public that these messages are hoaxes.  Replying to the emails sends a signal to the senders that they’ve reached a live account and tends to escalate the level of intimidation. 

The email messages are very strongly worded and can be scary.  Law enforcement officials indicate recipients of these messages are not in personal danger, but can check with their local police if they feel threatened.

More information about this scam can be found on the FBI’s website at www.fbi.gov/page2/jan07/threat_scam011507.htm

Additional tips
Also remember -- don’t provide your personal information to any email requestor, such as your social security number, account number, passwords or personal identification number, unless it is a business transaction you have specifically initiated.  Regularly review your bank statement to monitor for unauthorized withdrawals.  If you suspect that unauthorized activity may have occurred, immediately contact your bank’s loss prevention or security department and the police.

For more tips on avoiding identity theft, view http://identityweb.umich.edu.