Thousands get text message saying 'Pay $5,000 or die'

Threatening text message 
By: Shifra Unger

A scary text message was received by thousands of mobile phone users threatening them to pay up or die.

Police across Australia warned mobile phone users on Monday to ignore a text message sent to "a large number of people" threatening them of mortal death if they did not pay $5,000 Australian or U.S. $5,150.

"Sum1 paid me to kill you, escape this, if in 48 hours you pay $5,000. If you inform the police or anyone else, death is promised. E-mail me now:" read the text. It prompted hundreds of calls to authorities by the recipients.

Police in the states of New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania all issued statements saying the receivers should not be alarmed.
Queensland police said the deception was commonly referred to as "the hired murderer scam."

"If any member of the public has transferred the money then it is vital to contact the police and their bank immediately," he said.

New South Wales police said there had been a "significant" increase in emergency calls.
"The origin of the message is under investigation. However, police do not think it poses a real threat," they said.
Most scams originate overseas, which is difficult to track and prosecute, said the Australian Competition and Consumer Protection agency, which runs a "ScamWatch" website.