Thousands of Australians received text messages telling them to pay $5,000 in two days or be killed, according to Australian police agencies.
The messenger poses as a hitman who will spare the victim's life if they pay up, CNN reports.
Police sent out alerts Monday warning that the texts are scams and not to respond.
The predatory message reads, “Sum1 paid me to kill you, get spared, 48 hours to pay $5000. If you inform the Police or anybody, death is promised…Email me now…”
Citizens started receiving the threat on their mobile phones and email accounts Sunday, and while the exact number of victims has not been provided, authorities said they are stunned at the reach of the scam.
Seniors and people unfamiliar with the internet are most susceptible to the scam, police said.
The scam is considered an organized crime where the criminals rely on people’s fear. The hit-man scam has previously struck Australia twice over the last two years.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
More Did You Hear?
A teen who learned he didn't have much longer to live turned to writing music -- and his farewell song, "Clouds," became a YouTube sensation that has attracted more than 4 million views.