On Your Side: Beware of the death threat scam text

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:50 PM CDT
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OZARK, Mo. (KY3) - A woman in Ozark calls it the scariest text she has ever received. It was a threat to kill her. Turns out, it was a cold-blooded scam. She shared the messages with the police and our own Ashley Reynolds so you do not pay the ransom.

It’s a text that will send chills down your spine.

“Listen to me. I feel very sorry for you. It’s such a pity this is how your life is going to end,” said Latoya Riwa as she read the messages. “I was paid to eliminate you. If you dare call police or involve anyone, I promise to make the death faster.”

Someone wanted her dead.

“My heart wouldn’t stop racing. I couldn’t focus and do my job,” said Riwa.

Riwa was instructed to pay a ransom. She did not send money. She blocked the number and called the police. She racked her brain. Did she make someone really mad?

“Did I do something in college? A prank? Maybe when I was in the military. I started to brainstorm, no I don’t have any enemies who want to kill me,” she said.

She hasn’t received any more texts. The scammer never identified her or gave any personal details. That’s a sign it’s a phishing scam. Crooks text the same message to a bunch of numbers, hoping someone will take the bait.

If you get this text, do not respond. If you’re worried, call the police.

Three ways to dodge scam calls

Do not answer unknown numbers.

When you do, crooks know you have a working number. They’ll keep calling.

Make sure you’re on both ‘No Call’ lists.

Federal Do Not Call: 1-888-382-1222

Missouri Do Not Call: 866-No Call 1 (866-662-2551)

Try an app.

Consumer Reports says try: Nomorobo, Hiya, Mr. Number, RoboKiller, and YouMail. For a landline, try a call blocker, it’s a small device you put next to your phone. Those can cost anywhere from $20-$100, but it might be worth your peace of mind.

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