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'Hitman scam' tries to extort money from Pennsylvanians

Matthew Santoni
| Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, 9:15 a.m.
Courtesy Whitehall Borough Police Department

Whitehall Borough Police are warning of a cell-phone scammer who poses as a “hitman” who will spare his victim for $5,000.

In a Facebook post Thursday evening , police noted that a resident got a text message from an unknown sender claiming he was hired to kill her, but would spare her life and tell her who had hired him if she responded to an email address and sent him $5,000. Police said such “hitman” scams have been affecting people in Pennsylvania and other states.

Responding to such messages only sends a signal to scammers that they've reached a working phone number and potential mark, The scammers then escalate by messaging back with personal details about the victim that may seem threatening but are really accessible to anyone over the Internet and not proof of anything, police noted.

Anyone who receives such messages should ignore them, or can report them to local police and/or the FBI.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or via Twitter @msantoni.

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