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How to avoid a Bitcoin blackmail scam

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“I know about the secret you are keeping from your wife and everyone else. You can ignore this letter, or pay me a $8600 confidentiality fee in Bitcoin”.

It’s enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine, but these chilling words are part of a new scam targeting men.

Here’s how it works. Scammers have been sending letters to men, demanding payments using bitcoin in exchange for keeping quiet about alleged affairs. The letter also explains how to use bitcoin to make the payment.

This is a criminal extortion attempt to separate people from their money.

If you — or someone you know — gets a letter like this, report it immediately to your local police, and the FBI.

Threats, intimidation and high-pressure tactics are classic signs of a scam. Learn how to stay ahead of clever crooks with these practical tips, and check out the ways you can keep your personal information secure.

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I too am victim of this scam

Has anyone ever came across this...I met this guy online we chatted for a while then his only son supposedly passes away...he then ask me for money...so I sent him some but not much and of course was supposed to pay me back...then after a while I get a text from Heritage Bank saying that he left me his Father's inheritance money but I had to pay $ 25,100.00 in US funds which I never did...they sent his so called death certificate with the gentlemens picture on it...I have never seen a death certificate with the deceased picture on the top....and with very minimal description of his so called death...and once I paid this amount of money they would show me how to activate Bitcoin to access the money....

100% scam--guaranteed.

That's a romance scam. If you were to follow up on the guy's story, you'd find a LOT of inconsistencies. A friend of mine almost fell for this. He was older but also a widower (she was newly widowed and young). I told her it was a scam and sent her an article about this type of scam. She called his "place of work" and they'd never heard of the guy.

I just received a similar letter. If these losers spent as much time and effort on productive pursuits, they would be rich. I guess that's why they're losers.

I just received a letter in the mail stating that the sender had been doing work in my home town and he "stumbled across" my "misadventures while working a job around" my home town. The sender threatened to send his evidence to not only my wife but also all her "friends, family and to all your closest neighbors".
If the $9000 was not sent to the stated Bitcoin address within 10 days of the postmark.
Sorry for being Soo long winded but I thought that if you recognized some of the wording used in this letter, you could identify your letter as a common scam.

I just received a similar letter in the mail today demanding $8900 in bitcoin or information would be sent to my wife, family, and friends. The language is almost identical to the one received by Popcorn. Did the sender use the handle GreyCell96? Did Bit coin address begin with 1F6 and end with XnP?

I received the exact same letter ... postmarked Sept 25 in Nashville. did you report to authorities or anything else?

TedTalk, I guess our letters were mailed in the same batch. Mine was out of Nashville as well, dated 9/25/2018. I am evaluating the best course of action - FBI, Police, FTC, DA, Social Media, etc. I am not sure the authorities have the time to deal with it. This well drafted and thought out scam preys on the guilty mind. I would like to do whatever I can to make sure They/He/She are caught. I am curious as to how they obtained my address or why I was selected. Do you by any chance have a Bitcoin account with CoinBase? I wonder if there is a breach there? DId your letter have the same Bitcoin ransom account identified in my original reply?

I got the same letter postmarked September 25 from Nashville as well, the exact same letter the amount was $8,300.00. I live in Aptos, CA (Santa Cruz County). I didn't report it but will now.

how did u report? the fbi emails aren't working.

I got the same scam letter too, with the exact same lines ""misadventures while working a job around". They want $20k within 8 days though now lol!

I got the same one on May 17th asking for 20,200. Crazy. I called the police station and they said just shred it. They had some other calls before on it.

Received the same one a few days ago.

I just got an email from a scammer (not the first time), had all but the last 2 digits of my phone number blacked out and wanted $1000 in bitcoins to go away, here's his address, I don't see where I can report him/her: mail@ fateoflate. info

You can report that to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint.

My husband and I also are victims. An email was attempted to be sent to my email address, but Norton intercepted it and sent it to my junk mail. I opened that email, and found a similar Black Mail Letter demanding we pay $700 and they would leave us alone. The somehow obtained an outdated password I have not used in years -- probably from an unsecured website that we may have visited, and they used that password to try to scare me into believing they had hacked our personal computer. Well, that did not scare me because earlier that day I had our computer specialist complete a tune up on our computer and he also conducted an anti-virus scan, and our computer was clean. So upon receiving that email, I first checked Task Manager to determine if I was the only user actively using the computer and also the processes, and everything was normal. And then I ran another scan and the only breach were several tracking cookies which are low risk. I then contacted my computer technician and he thoroughly checked out our computer and re-ran the anti-virus scan, and nothing had been compromised on our computer. I then proceeded to a site I use that utilizes a password that was similar to the one the criminal obtained, and I changed that password -- and no one -- and I mean no one - would be able to guess - nor any binary system -- the password I chose. I still need to report this crime they committed to the FBI -- but let me tell you this - the FBI will never find the criminal, because this is how these criminals operate. There is not just one person generating these cyber terrorist emails -- they are being generated by a computer that sends out the same message to millions of computers across the U.S. - just like robotic phone calls are -- and these attacks are generated outside of our Country. These criminals take classes, I have been told my a previous computer technician, on how to commit these cyber crimes -- so they know how to mask their IP addresses and other ways for law enforcement to identify their computers. And then --unless it is a matter of National Security, the FBI does not have the power to extradite those criminals -- and even if they did, their own Country will not allow for that. In addition -- unless you have an actual loss of property - unless you lose money, law enforcement's hands are tied - I have been told - by my local police department. It makes me feel better to report these creeps to the FBI -- but their scope is limited. So I do not look to law enforcement to protect me until there is an actual loss of money or my computer is locked out by them and my computer is being held for ransom -- No. The best protection any of us have is this -- check out the validity of any email address if you do not recognize it -- and do not open it unless you do or verify its authenticity. Hackers generally gain access to your computer through loading Trojan Horses and Viruses by you downloading links and attachments in emails and also by you downloading applications onto your computer from illegitimate websites -- and computer thieves also know how to replicate a website with only a slight change to their email address -- so check out the website address too in your browser before you do any business with that website -- and do not do any transaction with any business without the https included in their browser website address. Hackers also can access your computer with you simply opening their email they send you, if the sender allows scripting. So if you don't trust or recognize the email address, don't open it - and if you need to, have your trusted computer specialist assist you in person or by remote -- because that is one way that hackers get you to open your email -- it keeps nagging your curiosity as to what the email is about -- trust me -- if it is sent to your junk mail, just do not open it without a computer expert at your side who is totally trained in IT issues. Well, I hope what I have shared is helpful. And yes, change your passwords often, or when you sniff something is not quite right - but make sure your computer is not compromised first -- because if it has been, you don't want to change your passwords if the criminal has infected your computer with a key logger virus.

Had a similar scam- I responded and messed with them a little. He sent me an email back with 4 digits of my phone # and 3 digits of two of my credit cards. The fact that he has some of my cc info is getting me worried.

received the same letter by post yesterday. just ignored it.

I just opened a letter this morning, and for a second was spooked, but then angry. I eventually shredded it (sender's online name had the word 'Black' and something else - maybe BlackAngel?), but it had the following key phrases that others have reported above:

+ The sender said he "stumbled across" my "misadventures while working a job around" my home town (Marietta, GA).
+ The sender threatened to send his evidence to not only my wife but also all her "friends, family and to all your closest neighbors". if the $9,300 was not sent to the stated Bitcoin address within 10 days of the postmark.

+ The envelope was mailed from Nashville, TN (370XX) on September 18, 2018 at 5 PM?

Hope the FBI uses this to throw these scoundrels in jail.

Funny -- my husband just received a letter in the mail. He's gone this weekend so I opened it. Didn't say "confidential" on it. :) I laughed all the way through. Really? Postmarked Nashville and here's the kicker -- they requested $20,200! Don't think so buddy! I really hope others don't fall for this. So sad.....

I received the very same email this morning. Had one of my passwords along with the email regarding porn site and webcam video of me, said they got all of my FB contacts, etc and would send them all this video of me. Asking for $9,000 via Bitcoin in 24 hours. I surely know this is NOT me. I am going to forward email to authorities as well. Don't these people have better things to do????

I got an email giving one of my logins information. They said that they had a record of different web sites I visited and took over my camera and have video of me as well. They said I could either ignore the message and they would send out the information to all of my contacts or send them $6000 using bitcoin within 1 day. I kept the email, notified the FTC and am going to contact my local FBI office. It is unnerving but listening to the FTC agent I spoke with and reading these accounts gives “some” comfort. Thank you all!

I received exact same email. Same $ amount and wording , e-mail was Aaron Smith 931 edu

Use the link in this blog to report to the FBI at www.fbi.gov/contact-us.

Same here, i received the threat feom same person and same day. 10/28 . They had a very old password in the subject line. Since i use two step verifications, I ignored and deleted.

The FTC needs to create a complaint category for this particular e-crime. Going to "Other" and "no match found" didn't help, because the questions are irrelevant. There is no one company or individual sending them. There is no porn attached, but a threat to reveal porn sites I've allegedly visited (not!) or to publish compromising photos of me (doing what? hoarding chocolate?)

I am sick of getting these insulting and threatening emails (three in the last few weeks). Even though they have nothing on me, these extortionists need to be brought to justice.

There is something seriously wrong with a world where a dairy farmer can be busted for selling raw milk to a willing adult, but blackmailers are free to conduct their "business" with impunity!

Use the link in this blog to report to the FBI at www.fbi.gov/contact-us.

Hi, I too am a woman and have in the last week received two of similar emails. I immediately changed passwords etc and deleted the email and I don't live in the USA. Hope that something is done to sort this out

I received this letter this morning and have reported it to the FBI. I looked through my junk mail and found 6 more dating back to 9/14 that didn't get through to my inbox. Not sure how this one got through.

Just received a similar email speaking of supposed captured video of me watching porn and threats to send it to all my contacts unless $3000 is sent to a bitcoin address.

Can confirm (as found by IT Professional | August 22, 2018 above) that the password they displayed to me was a very old LinkedIn password. (I never used LinkedIn since registering) I guess from the 2012 data breach.

This sort of process is possible due to an ability of the criminal to get anonymously paid using Bitcoin protocol. I find it difficult to understand why all branches of the US Government have taken a laissez-faire approach to fight untraceable cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, instead of issuing a full ban. Today, someone sent me an outdated password as "proof" that my computer is hacked, tomorrow someone will hack a local hospital with ransomware and demand an actionable sum in exchange for records. Unless the FBI and the FTC take this issue seriously, legitimate businesses and citizens will end up buying Bitcoin to get their data back. Why are we still being subjected to this trash only because someone had decided that cryptocurrency is a legitimate process? Think about this FTC - by failing to place a full ban on Bitcoin in the United States you are not only facilitating money laundering operations, you are placing the entire financial market at risk. Act now, legally, because there are also illegal ways to kill Bitcoin.

have received several emails of the blackmail attempts requesting bitcoin. The first had a password that I had used. Later I got an email from my email with the password. All claimed it had infected my computer, copied all my contacts, and activated my camera on my computer while I was on a porn site to record my actions. Copied all the emails to spam@uce.gov and also created an account on bitcoinwhoswho.com so I could report the fraudulent of the bitcoin address used to demand the money. My email provider noted to me that the address that showed as mine was spoofed, even thoug they did have my email's correct password.

I had the same issues received several emails. I didn’t pay. What should I do

I received this today: (I have never visited porn sites, so I doubt whether they are really monitoring my activities.)

Hello nicolene@

My nickname in darknet is demetre97.
I'll begin by saying that I hacked this mailbox (please look on 'from' in your header) more than six months ago,
through it I infected your operating system with a virus (trojan) created by me and have been monitoring you for a long time.

Even if you changed the password after that - it does not matter, my virus intercepted all the caching data on your computer
and automatically saved access for me.

I have access to all your accounts, social networks, email, browsing history.
Accordingly, I have the data of all your contacts, files from your computer, photos and videos.

I was most struck by the intimate content sites that you occasionally visit.
You have a very wild imagination, I tell you!

During your pastime and entertainment there, I took screenshot through the camera of your device, synchronizing with what you are watching.
Oh my god! You are so funny and excited!

I think that you do not want all your contacts to get these files, right?
If you are of the same opinion, then I think that $500 is quite a fair price to destroy the dirt I created.

Send the above amount on my bitcoin wallet: 1MN7A7QqQaAVoxV4zdjdrnEHXmjhzcQ4Bq
As soon as the above amount is received, I guarantee that the data will be deleted, I do not need it.

Otherwise, these files and history of visiting sites will get all your contacts from your device.
Also, I'll send to everyone your contact access to your email and access logs, I have carefully saved it!

Since reading this letter you have 48 hours!
After your reading this message, I'll receive an automatic notification that you have seen the letter.

I hope I taught you a good lesson.
Do not be so nonchalant, please visit only to proven resources, and don't enter your passwords anywhere!
Good luck!

I got the exact same email, only it was from hansiain16. Otherwise the wording is exact.

I got the exact same email today sent to me from what appeared to be my own email address. I quickly changed my password. However as it was sent straight to my spam folder I'm guessing its just a clever phishing email disguised as my own email address.

I got the exact email Oct 18 2018.

Got the exact message yesterday, sent it to FTC.

Got this today using my email address - on a bit more investigation the actual sending address is:
user@ ec2-3-0-116-8. ap-southeast-1. compute. amazonaws. com I have contacted abuse@ amazonaws. com and got a reporter no. Wait to see how this unfolds....

You can help law enforcement. Report to the FBI at www.FBI.gov/contact-us.

I also received this identical email, glad it isn’t just me!

I received almost word for word same email only things changed is DarknetDes56 and amount of money and bitcoin account.

I received an extortion email, obviously (from the wording) received from the very same person. The same person indicated he had gone into my files and deleted some of them. Which indeed had happened. The files were deleted or reduced to gibberish. He used a password that appears to have been used on a site I accessed. I don't really care if he tells everyone on the planet that I visited the site, but I don't want him hacking into my computer and deleting files. I updated my virus and malware software. He said he'd left a back door to get back into the computer, but that is probably BS. He undoubtedly got the password through a hacking or a security breach. What bothers me is that he went in and deleted or wrecked files, but remained silent then for a long period. Was he probably looking for material to use for the blackmail attempt?

I've got nearly the exact same message. End of october 2018 Something needs to be done about these hackers.

I get it 16th of November 2018 its true that this person can delate some of my dokuments?

I received one yesterday on my work email in Zambia and so did a couple of colleagues at work. I immediately contacted our IT dept and they blocked the sender and sent word to all staff. It was obviously distressing as I initially thought I was being stalked especially as I’m a woman.

I got this email today and am a female and I never went to any adult sights.

These scams are just the latest in a long list. Just ignore them. Various big websites have been hacked in the past, and that login data can be purchased online. What this scum does is simply buy that data, and then spam generic emails to everyone on that list in the hopes that some will pay them. But besides the login data they purchased, you'll notice they can't actually offer you anything specific. If they had something on you, don't you think they would start with that to get your attention? Don't fall for it. And don't let scum like this tarnish blockchain or cryptocurrency technologies, which are well worth looking into.

Hello, I received an email stating that they have my password and they actually had my password that I use on some things typed in the email. They were asking for bitcoin money or they would forward all my history to Facebook lists etc. Is this real or a scam? How did they get my password? Thanks!

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