Death Threat Email Scam

Published: Dec. 7, 2011 at 5:06 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2011 at 11:36 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It's a frightening email that viewers in our area are receiving in their inbox. The sender claims they've been hired by someone you know to kill you! The only way to save your life is by sending thousands of dollars.

Teresa Penatzer got an email that would put fear in most anybody. She says, "When I first started to read it, I thought it was a joke from somebody who knew. I certainly don't think I have any enemies that would do something like that." The subject title was "Sad News." Here's an example of what she saw in her in box. "It is a pity this is how your life is going to end. My duty as I am mailing you now is to just to kill you and I have to do it as I have already been paid."

The threats got worse, the sender told her things like, "I would not hesitate to carry out this job and kill you, including those that are close to you." And there were more threats like, "Warning: Do not think of contacting the police or even tell anyone because I will know."

Penatzer says, "What really got my attention was, I demand 10-thousand dollars to let go of you and I would not repeat myself twice." With demands for thousands of dollars -- and riddled with grammatical errors, Penatzer's gut feeling told her the emails were a scam. But she still found her self being extra careful and couldn't help but think someone could be watching. She says, "Every time I would go out to feed an animal or something, you are like looking and wondering if someone is watching me or is there a laser on me or something."

She sent the email to the FBI and the Goochland County Sheriff's office. "The officer who took the report said it did sound like a scam. He told me not to open any more of the emails and do not reply to any of them," she says. Officers determined the email was a scam but increased patrols in Penatzer's neighborhood just in case.

Police say if you get a similar email don't reply and report it to the FBI. If the email has any personal information, report it to your local police agency. Penatzer says, "It makes you angry. You just want to go out there and find out who is doing it and make them stop."

We contacted the FBI. It says these scams are pretty common and it has a cyber task force to investigate. The FBI says many of the emails originate overseas and in some cases, it could take up to a year or more to complete an investigation. The FBI also recommends that you report these scam emails to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Below are some helpful links. @

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.