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What are hitman scams and how to stay away from them?


Hitman scams are a special kind of attack, that belongs to the ransomware family. They include life-threatening messages and may be intimidating for many users. Usually, attackers ask for money, in order not to embarrass, injure, or even eliminate the victim.

What are these scary scams?

Hitman scams surfaced back in 2007. They involve intimidating emails or SMS text messages. Their name comes from the fact that message senders pretend to be hitmen. They say that someone hired them to kill the victim.

According to their claims, victims can avoid the threat if they send up to $100,000 to them. To make it even scarier, attackers pretend watching their victims. Moreover, they warn victims not to report the situation to the authorities. 

In order to be more credible, hackers use their skills to gather details about their victims’ lives in advance. Thus, they know their claims might seem even more legitimate.

How to recognize hitman scams and make them harmless?

Whenever you might receive a message (by email or SMS) from unknown senders, this should be a warning sign.

Any message containing threats should immediately be reported to the authorities. There are some warning signs. The most important one is when senders claim they are ready to harm you.

Immediately after comes the “solution” for this crisis situation: cybercriminals say you can get out of this situation. All you should do is pay a certain amount of money.

How to keep yourself safe?

In order to avoid this kind of scam, there are a few things you should do:

  1. Keep your computer safe, by using trusted anti-virus and anti-malware programs. You may choose from an updated list, here. This would prevent unwanted third-party programs from being installed and running on your computer. So, attackers could not spy on you and obtain any personal data. If they do not have this data, they would not be able to threaten you using confidential information. Here
  2. Never reply to spam texts from unknown emails or numbers. Always report them to the authorities, especially when they involve threats.
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