CHARLESTON -- Attorney General Darrell McGraw is warning consumers of a "hitman" e-mail that was sent to a consumer in West Virginia, threatening that an assassin would kill the recipient unless he paid the hitman large amounts of money.

"The FBI has been investigating 'hitman' spam since the beginning of this year," McGraw said in a press release. "However, my office had received no complaints from a recipient until this week."

After the consumer responded to the initial e-mail, he received a second one that was more threatening than the first. The second e-mail contained the following message:

Dear Friend,

It is important we come to a conclusion now or never because, I have been hired to kill you, this is the simple fact and I have been paid well for this job to be sincere with you, I have your full data's, from your name, to your address, to your phone numbers including this email address. I watch you everyday since the past two weeks and I know where you go and when you come back and everything you do. Do not dare me, I am a born killer, which is what I do to survive, I was born and brought up in Mexico. Never the less, I do not want to kill you, reasons best known to me, only if you will comply with my ransom and I will let you go and even send you the pictures of the person in charge (Who Paid me to kill you) including a very important video tape that you might need. NOTE: No Police. Ignore this message if you wish to die, I give you 5 days to comply or I will come for you. I am presently on another assignment. You have your choice.


McGraw's office said the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) believes the e-mails originate from outside the United States and have received reports of more than 100 such e-mails this year. There have been no reports of anyone paying the money. Some of the e-mails contained personal information such as a family member's name.

"Recipients should not respond to these e-mails and should report them to IC3," McGraw said in a press release. "While personal information is easily accessible on the Internet, anyone who receives threatening e-mail containing personal information should report it to the police."

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