SCAMwatch is warning Australians to beware of SMS death threats from scammers claiming to be 'hitmen' hired to kill the SMS recipient unless they send cash.

This scam has been around for a number of years, with scammers using both SMS and email to target you. The message arrives out of the blue and often contains a variation of the following text:

"Sum1 paid me to kill you. get spared, 48hrs to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised...E-mail me now:''

The scammers will typically request a sum of money and may also ask you for your personal details.

If you receive this scam SMS, do not respond – these text messages are often sent at random, so scammers won’t know if they have reached a live mobile number until the recipient responds. Ignore any requests for your personal details as it may lead to the theft of your identity.

Protect yourself

  • Delete the SMS immediately.
  • Do not forward or respond to the SMS – if you do, the scammers will escalate their intimidation and attempts to get your money.
  • Never provide your personal, credit card or banking details in an SMS, email or over the phone – scammers will use your details to commit identity fraud or steal your money.
  • If you have transferred any money, or have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank and the police immediately.

Reporting scams

You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch. Noting the text and phone number of the sender may assist in any investigations of the scam.

Should you ever be concerned about your physical safety, contact your local police.

More information

SCAMwatch has issued previous radars on ‘hitman’ scams:

Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter or visit

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Scammers will use any means possible to steal your identity or your money – including threatening your life or 'hijacking' your computer.