Death threat email scam plagues US

A new spam campaign claiming to come from a hit man is cropping up in email boxes across the US with recipients ordered to fork out thousands of dollars or face death, an AFP report said.

The AFP report said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is urging people not to respond to the email, which first surfaced in December and is thought to originate from overseas.

The email claims that the sender is a hit man hired to kill the recipient and that the contract on that person's life will be canceled if a large sum of money is paid, the AFP report said.

The message warns recipients not to contact authorities.

One person who responded to the email received another message containing his work address, marital status and daughter's name, the FBI said.

It added that a new twist on the scam involves emails now purporting to be from the FBI office in London and claiming that someone recently arrested for several murders in the US and Britain was carrying information identifying the recipient as the next victim, the AFP report added.

The FBI is urging people not to respond to the emails as doing so could compromise their identities and open them to identity theft, the report further said.