Assassination death threat or new version of old cyberscam?

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by By / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 25 at 11:11 AM

Video: Assassination death threat or new version of old cyberscam?

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - A graphic e-mail death threat against a Port Orchard family is likely a new version of a scam that's been circling the Internet since 2006, said federal authorities.

A Port Orchard woman received the e-mail titled "RE:" on Wednesday, which includes: "This is a message from the Ishmael Ghost Islamic Group. We are confirmed Islamic Hired killers and Suicide aids. We have been sent to assassinate you and members of your family... Sometime ago, you offended a member of our gang. As you quite know, I shall not be detailing my statement. This member had ordered for your assassination after he made sure he acquired every information about you and your family."

"I was wondering myself, of all people on this planet," said Tamie Tarbox when asked why she would get this e-mail. "I'm an average middle-class American. I don't associate with any of these affiliates or I don't recognize any of the names."

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The alleged death threat includes a way out: The recipient can stop the assassination by paying $800 within 72 hours to a man named "Steve Gibbs" in London.

Instead, Tarbox contacted local law enforcement.

"They say it's not a joke. They're not playing around. And I'm not either," said Tarbox.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center - a partnership of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI - tracks e-mails like this.

FBI cyber experts told us they'd never seen this particular e-mail, but it sounds like the so-called "Hitman" e-mail that first showed up around December 2006 and seems to evolve into a new version once a year.

Most of these e-mails have the same characteristics: The assassins claim to have been following the recipient for some time, they offer to stop the hit if paid, and - most notably, said an FBI spokesperson - the e-mails contain no specific details about the intended target.

A search of specific terms from the e-mail yielded only a handful of people who say they have received this e-mail, and all dated on June 10 or later.

Meanwhile, Tarbox says she no longer fears for her life, but the e-mail has made her tread lightly all week.

"It's scary when you get a death threat," she said. "And I'm surprised the levels that people go... to earn a buck."

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