Now in from the JMU Police Department, Email Scams

David Miller -- March 28th, 2008

PUBLIC SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE JMU COMMUNITY

Thursday, March 28, 2008

James Madison University would like to make you aware of an email scam that has been circulating again lately.

Recipients receive an email that contains a threat from an alleged hit man that purports to have been hired to kill the recipient unless they agree to pay an amount of money to cancel the contract put out on them. Many times the grammar in the message is poor which tends to support the theory that the message originated from a foreign country. In some instances the email contains personal information such as your address, places of employment or even the identity of family members. Much of this information about you can be found through on-line searches of public data bases, directories, and social web sites.

If you receive one of these messages, the FBI says you can simply ignore it and hit the delete button. If you have any doubts you can contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center through the following URL: http://www.ic3.gov/ . This site also contains information regarding useful internet crime prevention tips and outlines of other reported internet scams. If you feel you are in immediate danger contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. Contact the Harrisonburg Police Department at (540) 434-4436 or contact the James Madison University Police by telephone at (540) 568-6911; in person at Anthony Seeger Hall, West Grace and South Main; by e-mail publicsafety@jmu.edu , or, if you wish, anonymously through “Silent Witness,” at URL: http://www.jmu.edu/pubsafety/SilentWitness.shtml

The history of this scam is detailed more thoroughly at Snopes.Com. You can view their site by following this URL:
http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/hitman.asp

Another article regarding the scam is found in InformationWeek.Com from February 26, 2008 and can be view at the following URL:
http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206900261

The University encourages you to exercise safe internet practices and be cautious about sharing personal information with unknown parties.

7 Responses to “Now in from the JMU Police Department, Email Scams”

  1. David Miller says:

    The best part is that the Police have referenced Snopes.Com, supposedly a non-factual source according to some quoted posters.

  2. Sarah says:

    I think the even better part is that hitmen are now apparently emailing their victims to let them know…the whole thing’s a little silly. :)

  3. Well only a dolt would fall for the “hit man” message.

    It happens in the same week though as something that is still a total SCAM but is less over-the-top and so might fool some. The ‘ol send-us-your-password scam. Example:

    Dear Jmu Webmail Subscriber,
    To complete your Jmu Webmail account, you must reply to this email immediately and enter your password here (*********)
    Failure to do this will immediately render your email address deactivated from our database.
    You can also confirm your email address by logging into your Jmu Webmail account at https://webmail.jmu.edu/
    Thank you for using JMU.EDU !
    THE JMU SUPPORT TEAM

    of course it is NOT from the jmu support team.
    scam scam scam scam scam scam scam.

  4. ammc says:

    Finally, an email threatening to just go ahead and kill me rather than threatening bad luck, or an eternity in hell if I don’t “care enough” to pass it along to seven of my friends in twenty minutes. What a breath of fresh air!

  5. David Miller says:

    <p>Email this blog to 100 hundred of your closest friends or face the rath of Pastafaria. Tennesee school employees are exempt from this requirement since they spread the good word Pastafarian
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastafarian ps. thanks Tim.</p>

  6. Seth says:

    dave,
    i’ve got to say that just because the police cite snopes, it is still at best a resource for cursory, informal verification of information. remember this is the same police department that tells us that random words tagged on trains and buildings are almost always gang related. also the same police department who recently substantiated hysteria about candy flavored crank. i’m not taking things as gospel from them or snopes w/o cross referencing at least one other quasi-reliable source.

  7. David Miller says:

    Nor would I suggest that you do so :)

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