NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn man says he received a terrifying threat from a stranger, threatening to kill him and his family if he didn't hand over money.
It began with a quick and eerie phone call from an anonymous person asking for money; then things quickly escalated.
"Just look at those pics… oh my God," former New York assemblyman Dov Hikind said.
"Blood, gory, horrible."
The man, who hid his face in fear, says last week he got text messages with pictures of blood soaked and mangled people.
Along with those horrifying visuals, he received a demand for cash plus a list of his family members, his address, and a threat they'd be kill.
"You just don't know what to do, I was terrified," the victim said.
"We see other scams but nothing to this extent."
One text claimed the sender was part of a cartel and managed a brothel – claiming the victim owed money for speaking with a woman about her services and wasting her time.
"I've implanted you a fee which you must pay. If you don't pay you and a couple of your family members will lose your lives."
Then came the moment when he had to decide what to do.
If it's still 50 percent, 25 percent chance, you're still scared. I'm scared now still shaking," the man added.
"Should I go to the police, make myself known, make a big deal about it, should I not."
This victim thought it through and, instead of paying, asked for help from community leader and former New York politician Dov Hikind
Hikind alerted authorities.
"What we have today goes beyond anything I've ever seen, it's shocking," Hikind said.
"This is something that needs to be pursued. We need to protect our community."
They're hoping sharing the threat will help prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.
Police sources say this type of message is common and was likely sent to many people. It's often simply a method of intimidation, with scammers building personal profiles on victims from their social media pages to craft a convincing threat.
The good news is experts tell CBS2 there is usually no imminent danger, but that it's always smart to report a threat immediately.
Police sources say they have recently received several reports of similar threats citywide.
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