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Terroristic e-mail circulating in area

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BETHANY BERRY

The Ellis County Press

Threatening letters from an unknown sender have made circulation across Ellis County and is believed to have been sent to several others across the country.

The letter, sent via e-mail, warns recipients unless $20,000 is sent, a "contract" of assassination will be carried out.

The e-mail notes if the exchange is taken place, the money will "be used to settle the team men involved" and guarantees the recipient access to evidence, ensuring the suspect’s imprisonment.

The author of the e-mail also promises to proceed with his violent actions if any information is reported to authorities before a transaction is made.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, scams such as these or others promising large profits have been around for decades, but until recently have grown to "epidemic proportions," with many consumers reporting receiving several offers per day.

While it is unknown how many people have received the letter, e-mail users should know these schemes could lead to identity theft, loss of finances or worse, if not approached with caution.

To protect yourself from these scams, Sam Love of the Ferris Police Department suggests to pay close attention to e-mails, especially those claiming to be from financial institutions.

"If there is a link in an e-mail, I don’t click on it,"said Love. "It’s best to call the institution directly, because you can never be too safe."

The FTC said a majority of victims are the "compassionate consumers who fall for the convincing sob stories, polite language and the promises of money," many of which are senior citizens.

"I get a lot of calls from elderly citizens who want to reply to e-mails offering free gifts or money," said Love. "It’s real easy to fall into those traps."

The Ellis County Press

made several attempts to contact the solicitor by relying to the e-mail address listed, but no response was made.

The FTC suggests asking yourself two important questions if you are tempted to respond to any scam: Why would a perfect stranger pick you — also a perfect stranger — to share a fortune with and why would you share your personal or business information, including your bank account numbers, with someone you don’t know?

The U.S. Department of State cautions against traveling to the destination mentioned in the letters. According to state department reports, people who have responded to these "advance-fee" solicitations have been beaten, subjected to threats and extortion and sometimes murdered.

Another way to protect yourself is to rely on your instincts. If you think it may be far-fetched, it probably is.

The FTC also encourages any offers sent via e-mail from someone claiming to need help getting money or from anyone sending threats should be forwarded to the FTC at spam@ uce.gov and any lost money to one of these schemes should be reported to the local Secret Service field office, which is listed in the telephone directory.


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