Queensland police have warned members of the public to ignore a scam text and email being distributed by overseas fraudsters that commands recipients to deposit $5000 into a bank account or be killed.
Anyone who receives the message has been asked by police to delete it immediately, not respond to its demands and not forwarding it on to others.
Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Fraud and Corporate Crime Group said the texts were fraudulent and people should not be concerned by the gravity of the threat.
An example of the 'hitman scam' SMS.
The email address has been blacked out.
"Across Australia at this point in time we are being flooded and inundated by disturbing emails and text messages claiming you will be killed if you don't part with the sum of $5000 and transfer this money into the hands of criminals," he said.
"Please understand that this is a scam. A very ugly attempt by fraudsters overseas to get your money.
"There is no immediate danger or threat to you or your family and tens of thousands of Australians have been targeted on mass. This is not directed personally to you."
The Australian ScamWatch website first began warning about a similar text-based scam in 2008 but the latest circulation of the message also includes emails.
Police say it is vital anyone who has transferred money as a result of the texts or emails contact police and their bank immediately.
Anyone with any concerns about the message should contact ScamWatch and the ACCC.