FBI Phoenix
Brooke Brennan and Kevin Smith
(623) 466-1999
December 20, 2017

FBI Warns of Death Threat Email Scams

PHOENIX, AZ—The FBI Phoenix Field Office has noticed a recent increase in people reporting e-mail threats where they are being ordered to pay in virtual currency or prepaid cards to avoid harm to themselves or their families. The FBI has determined this to be a scam and has no information to support or validate the threats.

The FBI is informing members of the public to contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov to report any suspicious e-mail or phone calls that threaten the well-being of an individual or family member.

The e-mails appear to be targeting individual businesses e-mail accounts. The perpetrator often references in the body of the e-mail, that this is a "one-time" use e-mail account.

“The FBI takes the threatening nature of these e-mails very seriously. Our investigators are aware of this situation and ask anyone who may be receiving this type of e-mail to contact and report the matter to the FBI," said Michael DeLeon, special agent in charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office. "Scammers try to take advantage of your emotions and trust, so take the time to educate yourself about any offer or threat you receive," said DeLeon.

Individuals receiving such e-mails or phone calls are asked to file a complaint through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.GOV) even if you did not lose money. We use this information to open and develop cases, as well as to link existing cases.

  • Tips for individuals targeted in online scams:
    • Do not send money to someone you have not met and have no reason to trust. 
    • Never provide your personal information, including your bank account for another's use. These arrangements can only end in financial loss, heartbreak, or worse.
    • Be leery of anyone you did not initiate contact with who asks for payment using virtual currency or prepaid cards.