Hitman scams involve a scammer threatening your life unless you give in to their demands and pay thousands of dollars to be spared.

How this scam works

A scammer pretending to be a hitman contacts you out of the blue telling you that they have been hired to kill you, but they will spare you if you pay them money. You may be contacted through various methods, but by email and text message are the most commonly used approaches. Text messages may look like they are from an international phone number, or the number may be blocked.

A typical message reads: 'Someone paid me to kill you. If you want me to spare you, I'll give you two days to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, you will die. I am monitoring you.'

The scammer will provide you with bank account details to pay the ransom and an email address to confirm the ransom, and they may ask you to provide personal information, including your banking details.

The messages often warn you against seeking legal advice or contacting the police.

The scam is designed to scare you into handing over your money without seeking any further assistance or information.

Warning signs

  • You receive an email or text from a stranger claiming they have been hired to kill you.
  • The message claims you can be spared by paying the hitman money. The amount requested can vary between $1000 to $50 000.
  • The message may be in complete sentences or use text speak and slang.
  • The scammer will typically ask you to pay them via money transfer.

Protect yourself

  • Delete the text or email immediately. These messages are sent at random, so they won’t know if they have reached a live email address or number unless you respond.
  • Do not respond to texts or emails. If you do, the scammers will escalate their intimidation and attempts to get your money.
  • Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust and never by email or over the phone.
  • If you have transferred any money, or have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank and the police immediately.
  • If you are concerned for your safety, contact the police.

Have you been scammed?

If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.

We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.

Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.

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