Text message death threat scheme

If you receive the menacing message, police say delete it

(CNN) – Schemers posing as hitmen. Authorities across Alabama have a warning about a threat that’s resurfaced.

Police say the alarming messages are simply a ploy to get access to your personal information and one official says it’s popping up across the nation.

A scary text message is popping up on Alabamians’ phones. The sender says “I’ve been paid to kill you, but wish to spare you. Inform the police or anyone else, you will die.”

It includes an email address to contact immediately. Law enforcement agencies from Montgomery County down to the wiregrass say while the death threat is fake, the message contains dangerous malware.

Lt. Randy Pollard, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said, “It’s a text scheme that’s coming in that’s threatening people’s lives. It is a scheme. It appears to be Trojan virus. Don’t open it.”

If you click on any links or reply to the threat, by text or email, the virus can leave your mobile devices vulnerable to a data hack, including account numbers and passwords.

It also copies your contacts and then sends the message to all of them. The Montgomery county sheriff’s office has received multiple reports of the text message scheme. So has the Geneva county sheriff’s office. In Dothan, it’s circulating via email.

Lt. Will Glover, Dothan Police Dept said, “The ones who have received it were extremely concerned at first, obviously. It’s a pretty serious threat. Obviously they feel a little better when they realize it’s a scheme. We’ve actually spoken with the local FBI office and it’s actually popped up nationwide.”

Randy Pollard said, “It can actually affect the security levels on your mobile devices, making some of your information available to whoever is on the other end so a blind link like that doesn’t need to be clicked on.”

If you receive the menacing message, police say delete it.