According to reports, the message reads: “Sum1 paid me to kill you. get spared, 48hrs to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised…E-mail me now:”

Police in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales have all released statements assuring the public that the message is a scam.

The unusual phishing tactic created a huge spike in ‘000’ calls, but police said people should not be alarmed as the message was distributed en masse.

A spokesperson for Queensland Police said: “Do not forward the message on and do not respond in any way to the message.

“If any member of the public has transferred any money it is vital they contact police and their bank immediately.”

The spokesperson confirmed that the hoax is commonly known as “the hitman scam”.

Police in Tasmania said the scam has been circulating by email and SMS for years.