FBI SWAT agent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's not that I ever had an idyllic view of Alaska. I mean, sure, at one time I may have thought that there were polar bears roaming the streets, mixed in with a lot of crusty gold prospectors, and, of course, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon was likely ambling around on patrol with Rex and King. More recently, I have this image of Sarah Palin staring out across the icy waters and watching Russia.
What I never had in mind when it came to Alaska was email extortion involving Ninja-like killers.
Imagine my surprise when I came across a March 27, 2013, Federal Bureau of Investigation press release titled: FBI Warns of Extortion/Hitman Scam and read the following:
Kevin C. Donovan, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, state of Alaska, advises that Alaskans may be targeted for an ongoing e-mail-based scheme that threatens death to the recipient by an unknown professional hitman. The fraudster contacts the potential victims via e-mail claiming their team was hired and paid a lot of money by a friend of the victim to kill them. The fraudster demands $10,000 to call off the hit and claims he will provide a tape containing evidence as to who hired him once the amount is paid. The recipient is threatened with murder if they fail to comply. The recipient is also threatened that they are currently being watched by the hitman's team and that the hitman will kill the recipient's family if the recipient contacts law enforcement.
Not to be too picky here but professional hitmen never struck me as the type of folks who communicate their threats via email. I mean, you know, there's that troubling thing about the return email address (imagine if the hit team sent from "BigBunny123″); and there is that ever-present obstacle of a spam filter blocking the message's receipt. What's next - hitmen will threaten to alter your dating status on social media or un-Friend you?
Of course, I grew up in the '50s with Superman andSgt. Preston; so, maybe my sense of how hitmen threaten folks is a tad dated - after all, I never did quite understand why Superman put his arms on his hips and expanded his chest as he impatiently watched the bullets bounce off his "S" but then ducked when the bad guy threw the emptied gun at him. And let's not even get into that whole thing about why Alaska was being patrolled by the Royal Canadian Mounties.
Anyway, if you're an Alaskan resident and you get an email about a gang of wannabe killers who are happy to call the whole thing off for $10,000, the FBI press release references FBI Special Agent Eric Gonzalez at (907) 276-4441. Also, Agent. Donovan advises that should you receive a similar extortionate e-mail, contact your local FBI office and file a complaint at the Internet Crime Complaint Center's website at www.ic3.gov.