Michael L. Lyle, Chief
56 W. Foster St.
Melrose, MA 02176
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Feb. 2, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Melrose Police Warn Residents of a Scam Involving Death Threat
MELROSE — Chief Michael L. Lyle and the Melrose Police Department would like to alert residents of a scam in which an individual sends an email threatening the recipient’s life.
This version of a popular extortion scam involves an email being sent to a victim from a supposed hitman who threatens to kill the recipient if the person does not make a payment in the form of bitcoin. The email includes a link to the payment details and suggests that the scammer will reveal the name of the person who ordered the hit once payment is received.
These scams have been around for many years and in a wide variety of forms. Scammers often demand money via Western Union wires, pre-paid debit cards, gift cards, mailed cash or, most recently, bitcoin in almost all cases. No legitimate organization or person will request payment in these forms. Scams can come in the mail, email, social media or via telephone (landline or cell phone).
“Never respond to these types of emails. We understand that when someone threatens your life it is frightening, but these are false claims made by a trained scammer,” Chief Lyle said. “We cannot stress enough that if you send money through bitcoin or a wire transfer, in almost all cases, it is lost and gone forever.”
To help residents protect themselves, Melrose Police offer the following tips:
- Never send money to an unknown address, link or person.
- Contact police if you receive a threatening email or phone call requesting payment.
- Beware of any unsolicited phone calls or emails from unfamiliar numbers or addresses.
If you are ever unsure about a potential scam, contact the Melrose Police Department at 781-665-1212.