Some may find texts from their friends or loved ones annoying at times, but brief, pointless messages are nothing compared to seeing a death threat pop up on your smartphone screen. That was the reality for tens of thousands of Australians today when an unknown perpetrator sent out a mass text message demanding cash and threatening the lives of the recipients.
Australian authorities believe that tens of thousands of mobile phone users received this text message from a "0000" number: "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: email@example.com" Of course, despite the sender's hopes to avoid police involvement, thousands of calls began to flood local authorities.
The email address in question has been taken down, but it remains unclear if anyone actually fell for the scam. Police believe that the total number of victims may be in the tens of thousands or more, and it's impossible to tell how many recipients are still in fear for their lives. At this time, authorities insist there is no immediate danger and note that this isn't the first time someone has tried such a scam.
More from Tecca: