- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Police in Maryland and Pennsylvania warned residents Tuesday against responding to suspicious text messages being sent to cellphones by a person posing as a hired hitman.

Law enforcement agencies in both states said they’ve been contacted numerous times by people who claim to have received the same suspect message.

“I’ve been paid to kill you but wish to spare you. Inform the police or anyone else you die. To be spared, contact [email protected] immediately via email,” the messages all say.

The messages were reported appearing Tuesday on the phones of people residing in and around Baltimore, Maryland, and as far north as York, Pennsylvania.

Maryland State Police and Baltimore City Police are both investigating the complaints, as are other agencies across either state, ABC News’s Baltimore affiliate reported Tuesday.

According to authorities, the threatening messages are harmless as long the recipient doesn’t bother responding.

“We’ve gotten several complaints and are simply advising the public that scams, particularly internet and over cellphones, are getting increasingly direct, which entices an individual into thinking it’s real, when in fact [it] most always isn’t,” Sheriff Jim DeWees of the Carroll County, Maryland Sheriff’s Office told The Baltimore Sun.

“This is a scam that has been reported statewide,” the Harford County, Maryland Sheriff’s Office posted to its Facebook page Tuesday. “If you receive this text message, do not respond or attempt to email either account.”

Police have not publicly identified any suspects believed to be responsible for the threatening messages.

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