The Brazil Times recently received a scam e-mail that included a death threat.
According to Clay County Chief Deputy Rob Gambill, the e-mail is a scam from another country. He said it most likely comes from another part of the world such as Africa or the Middle East. When researching online, Gambill found the same e-mail word for word, warning others of the scam.
The e-mail tells the recipient to keep it a secret, not to tell family, friends or any law enforcement. The e-mailer says they have been watching the recipient after being paid ransom to "terminate" the recipient. The e-mailer says they want to meet face-to-face and asks for $5,000.
The e-mailer threatens to hurt the recipient's family if they do not comply with the terms. They specifically tell the recipient not to record the conversation when meeting. Once the e-mailer has received $2,500, they say they will provide a copy of a videotape that shows the request to terminate the recipient, which can be taken to law enforcement.
Gambill said he hadn't heard of anyone else in the area receiving a similar e-mail, but if someone does they can report it to the Clay County Sheriff's Department or the U.S. Attorney General's Office. However, Gambill told The Brazil Times there isn't much local law enforcement can do about the issue.
"Due to the fact of where these e-mails originate from, it's hard to do anything about it," Gambill said. "Law enforcement in those areas don't cooperate. A lot of these countries don't have treaties with the U.S., so we would never have a way to bring them into custody even if we could charge them, and to do that someone would actually have to be victimized unfortunately."
Gambill said the scammers use spoof e-mail addresses. The Brazil Times received the e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org.
"They have technology to do those things even though they live in remote areas of the world," Gambill said. "We'd have to double the size of the FBI to be able to chase each of these things down because there are so many of them."
Gambill warned the community of scammers.
"If they receive e-mails that don't name them specifically and are asking for cash -- anything you receive like that is most likely a scam," he said. "Anytime you receive this you should default it to a scam and then see if you can prove it to be real, not the other way around."
Gambill warned people not to take anything by face value, but instead to do research first, especially when it has anything to do with finances.
"It's all financial gain," Gambill said. "If they send out 100,000 e-mails it costs them nothing, and if one or two of them take the bait, they make a substantial amount of money out of just sending an e-mail. They aren't taking much of a risk."
Gambill said if someone receives a possible scam e-mail, to copy a sentence out of the e-mail and search for it online.
"Usually it will pop up several warnings online of the scam," he said.