FBI warns of twist in extortion phishing scam

Pay no attention to e-mails, purportedly from the FBI in London, stating you were next on a murderer's hit list.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto
FBI officials are warning users of a new phishing scam that plays off a recent round of bogus extortion threats.

The initial e-mails phishing for personal information were sent around last month, purportedly from a would-be hit man demanding users pay an extortion fee of thousands of dollars, or face death, according to an FBI advisory.

The e-mail recipients were informed the so-called hit man had been hired by their friend to knock them off, but the hit man would forgo the job as long as a payment of several thousand dollars was made, according to the FBI advisory. Users were asked to quickly respond to the bogus e-mail and provide their telephone number.

The phishing scam making the rounds this week involves an e-mail designed to dupe recipients into believing it was sent from the FBI in London. The e-mail again asks for personal information, noting a person was recently arrested for related murders of several U.S. and U.K. residents. The e-mail goes on to say the individual under arrest was found to have information about the e-mail recipient, stating that he or she was to be the next victim.

FBI officials note this second round of e-mails is bogus and advise users to disregard such e-mails unless they contains some personally identifiable information.