Falmouth police are warning about a new, aggressive scam in which someone threatens to carry out a murder-for-hire plot if payments are not made immediately to an overseas recipient.

Police learned of the scam after a Falmouth resident received a bizarre, threatening text message Tuesday – the first encountered by Falmouth officers that employed a death threat.

“I’ve been paid to kill you but wish to spare you,” the text message said. “Inform the police or anyone else (and) you die.”

The text then instructed someone to send a message to a Hotmail email address.

Realizing the text message was a potential scam, the recipient, who was not identified, contacted Falmouth police, said police Lt. John Kilbride. Kilbride said officers then contacted the Hotmail address.

The message they received back was stark, Kilbride said.

“(I) am sparing you because the person who wants you dead broke my trust and I wish to repay him by exposing him,” the reply said, according to a copy of the email provided by police.

The perpetrator then instructed the intended victim to send $5,000 to Robert Brant in Instanbul, Turkey. The email, however, was signed by a different name: Vasili Shirokov.

Falmouth police said they are only aware of the one resident receiving the threat, and they haven’t identified the perpetrator.

Kilbride said telephone and other scams are relatively common. In the past, scammers have posed as tax collectors and urged victims to wire money to the federal government. (The IRS has not and will never require taxpayers to wire money.)

Others are pleas for help sent from foreign locales. Another recent ploy has involved perpetrators posing as county officials who allege the victim has missed jury duty and must pay a fine immediately.

All are variations on the same pattern, Kilbride said. Scammers create a problem only the victim can solve, then manufacture a sense of urgency, either through emotional pleas or threats, before asking for an immediate cash payment, usually through a wire transfer or by buying redeemable gift cards.

“Everything is different but the core is the same,” he said. “You need to wire money.”

What was surprising to local officers was employing a death threat, Kilbride said.

“The elderly seems to be a target for a lot of these,” Kilbride said. “It can happen to anyone. For me, I’m a policeman and it was disturbing for me to read.”

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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