Receiving an unexpected message from an unknown number can make you a little wary. Normally it's just someone you haven't spoken to in a while. But unfortunately, it's also another opportunity for scammers to take advantage of you.
A lot of people simply don't reply to strange texts. But if you thought your life was at stake, would you still ignore it?
People in Maryland and Pennsylvania have been receiving threats from a supposed hitman. The messages are coming from "firstname.lastname@example.org".
I’ve been paid to kill you but wish to spare you. Inform the police or anyone else you die. To be spared, contact email@example.com immediately via email
It can be very scary at first if you don't know this is happening to other people. Luckily, those affected notified law enforcement officials in their respective areas.
The police believe the messages came from a scammer, not a hitman. They warned that the message could contain a virus that infects your phone and then sends the message to all of your contacts. They also warned that replying to the email could enable the scammer to download everything from your phone.
They said the best thing to do was to immediately delete the message. The Harford County Sherriff's Office even posted this warning on Facebook.
If you receive one of these text messages, don't hesitate to report it to the police. Even though your life may not be at risk, your privacy could be.
You should also read Kim's latest USA Today column about protecting your phone from secret spyware. Click here for tips that will prevent you from accidentally downloading dangerous malware on your device.