The average person receives about 121 emails per day, between work and personal messages. Most of that is harmless: a message from your boss, some spam, notice of an upcoming sale. But what's in your inbox can be a threat, too, and scary stories about emails will send send chills down your spine.
Terrifying email stories, like tales of creepy phone calls, go beyond phishing scams or requests for money from mysterious princes. The worst emails people have ever gotten include death threats, ransom demands, messages apparently from beyond the grave, and even warnings about gargantuan spiders.
Email horror stories are particularly creepy because online stalkers are usually remote physically, yet get up close and personal in the intimacy of our inbox. The people who send these anonymous missives often choose victims at random, yet seem to know personal details about their targets, and are difficult to identify or track down.
After reading about these horrible emails, some of the garbage that ends up in your spam might still seem annoying, but at least nonthreatening, and easy to ignore and delete. The victims of these hackers weren't so lucky.
- 1233 VOTES
A California DJ Received 4,000 Threatening Emails
A former DJ for a California radio station wrote in a Reddit post about being the victim of an online lovesick listener who sent 4,000 emails and made 5,000 blog posts about her infatuation with him. Because he is a public figure, he can't completely disappear from view online.
Redditor /u/pmjm shared some of the content of the emails (he's saved all of them):
The recent emails have gotten very dark, violent in tone. Today she sent one saying she was going to find me and hurt me and happily go to jail. In another one, she listed the specific neighborhood in which I live (if she knows this, I'm certain she has my address). In an effort to stem the flow of information I deleted all of my social media accounts a while back, but she still emails me pictures I appear in from friends who have public profiles, as well as radio station photos that I must appear in.
She also has sent photos of a kind of shrine she has made of me in her home, with framed photos from my social media that she has posted up on walls, desks, etc.
Other Reddit users urged him to call police.
- 2162 VOTES
A Stalker Sent False Images From Adult Sites
Eric Bolduan stalked more than 50 people across the United States, and he did it via email.
Bolduan, a software engineer, was accused of downloading images of students from the University of Colorado and other women around the country, and uploading them to adult sites. He then emailed links to the images to the victims' friends, families, employers, and others.
Bolduan, who admitted that he harassed the women, also wrote in the emails about how he wished to kidnap, rape, and torture the victims.
In 2017 Bolduan was arrested and charged with stalking, as well as violating federal interstate communications laws.
- 3123 VOTES
Jigsaw Ransomware Wipes Out Files
In 2016, emails with Jigsaw ransomware started terrorizing people. When users open the executable file in the email, an image of the killer puppet made famous in the Saw film franchise appears on the screen, along with a countdown that systematically deletes files and folders on the person's computer every hour until a Bitcoin payment, anywhere from $20 to $250, is made.
Ransomwhere attacks aren't uncommon, but the Jigsaw program is unique because of the panic and fear induced by its ticking clock. Victims have to pay up or watch their computer die a slow, painful death.
- 4153 VOTES
Friends And Family Received Emails From A Dead Man
Jack Froese died in June 2011, but five months afterward, friends said they received messages from his email account.
Tim Hart, one of Froese's best friends, was surprised to open his email and find a message from Froese's account with the subject line "I'm watching." The body of the email then instructed Hart to "Clean your f*cking attic!!!,” a topic the two had been discussing before Froese's death.
Other friends and family members began receiving messages as well, all with similar short messages. While some were upset and believed Froese's account had been hacked, others saw the messages as more of a "gift." Froese's mother, for example, said the emails “made some people happy, they upset some people – but to me, that's keeping people talking about him.”
- 5100 VOTES
Hitman Emails Threaten Death For Ransom
Emails that threaten to kill someone if they don't pay up are horrifying – and becoming more common.
In Virginia, for example, users reported receiving death threats from an anonymous source. Specifically, someone ordered a hit on them, and the sender was offering a bargain: pay me off, or I'll finish the job. A line from one email read, "It is a pity this is how your life is going to end. My duty as I am mailing you now is to just to kill you and I have to do it as I have already been paid." The emails were revealed as a hoax once the FBI investigated.
Authorities in Queensland, Australia, report similar "hitman" scams.
- 699 VOTES
The Starbucks Stalker Wanted More Than One Date
We've all had bad dates. Whether it's a misleading Tinder profile or lack of old-fashioned chemistry, sometimes people just don't click. Usually, we learn from the experience and move on. One man, however, couldn't seem to comprehend that someone wouldn't want to keep seeing him after their first date in 2011, which took place at a Starbucks.
Later dubbed the "Starbucks Stalker," he Googled the woman he was "seeing" to find her email, and began sending messages like this:
I think you're over-worked, over-caffeinated, and under-slept, and not making a rational decision here if you honestly believe that I was in any way pressuring you to move fast into something you weren't comfortable with, or that I am obsessed with you or whatever it is you feel the problem is.
I mean, I think you're beautiful, smart, and charming. It's a good trifecta you were blessed with, but I would think me noticing that would be a good thing.
The emails kept coming for at least seven months. No word on when or if he stopped.