Threatening Text Message A Virus, Police Say

Threatening Text Message A Virus, Police Say
threatening text message pic

BERLIN — Local law enforcement agencies on Tuesday are investigating an ominous text message threatening to kill the recipient circulating in Worcester County and beyond that is now believed to be a Trojan Horse virus.

Early Tuesday morning, many Worcester County residents began receiving text messages suggesting the sender has been paid to kill the recipient and urging the recipient to send an email in order to avoid that eventuality. The text message reads, “I’ve been paid to kill you, but wish to spare you. Inform the police or anyone else you die.” The text message then instructs the recipient, “To be spared, contact immediately via email.”

Allied law enforcement agencies in the area including the Maryland State Police and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office began receiving calls about the threatening text message early Tuesday morning. The Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) has taken the lead on the investigation locally although the threatening text message appears to have been distributed in several states.

WCBI Detective Mike Lupiwok said on Tuesday afternoon the threatening text message has been reported as far away as Tennessee and Florida and throughout the state of Maryland. Lupiwok said WCBI has learned the text message is a Trojan horse virus and anyone who responds to it places a virus on their phone and copies all of the phone contact information. The virus then resends the same message to everyone else in the victim’s contact list.

WCBI detectives continue to investigate the threatening text message and its source. Lupiwok is urging anyone who receives the message not to open it and delete it immediately. Anyone who receives the text message is urged to contact their local police department immediately.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.