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.

Tagged with: cryptocurrency, scam

Comments

So Many... Thanks For The Info!

It happened to us. Threatened porn sites. Very upsetting. Called police but they took some info and never called back. Sad to believe people can hack in and get info. How do they decide who to contact?

The answer to this latest criminality is just simply to NOT use bitcoins. Simple as that.

Uh...don't think you understand the scam. It's not the using of bitcoin that leads to the scam. 99% of the victims probably never used bitcoin, that is just what they are told to pay in. bitcoin in internet money, and that is how the blackmailer wants to be paid or he will expose the victims porn viewing, or whatever it is they are threatening to expose, even if the victim did nothing.

I just found an email in my junk folder from a scammer wanting “ compensation” for not revealing porn I supposedly watched, to my contacts, for $1000 in bitcoins.
Claiming a video was made of me watching porn, through a web cam. It’s false.. but if it was true that I watched porn..so what?! Thing that worried me was that the message also contained a previous password that I did use. Any input?

This scam is going around to a lot of people. An e-mail came in about this from my jobs IT department. I believe that some sites have malicious malware and spyware attached. Be careful where you surf online. If you are surfing on one of these sites, hackers may be able to access your browser information. Don't save passwords or usernames in your browser. Don't use the same username and password on different sites. Change your password every few months. Lastly, some sites have been hacked and if you gave any personal information for purchases, the information may have been compromised. This maybe how they got personal information. It is disturbing reading about this and pretty scary.

I just got the same email!! Jokes on them because I have NO money to give!
It is kind of crazy that they were able to get my iPhone passcode, though...what info do they have access to with that now? Are they able to see everything I type? I suppose paranoia has set in!

I am guessing that they are using email/password combos from very old lists garnished from hacks. When they contacted me, they used a pw from the massive Yahoo hack of many years ago, after which I of course changed all of my pw's.

Frannygranny, my wife got I suppose an identical email within the past day. The password provided was an old one. We're figuring that someone hacked a weakly-protected website and got passwords and emails, and sent out that letter to thousands of email addresses, figuring that they only need a small percentage of recipients to send bitcoins to make it a very lucrative scam. _IF_ you could get a big group of people who received that email to list all the websites they used that particular password on, you should be able to get a really good idea of which website was hacked. It could even have been an innocuous-looking site that was set up specifically to steal passwords, knowing that many people use the same password on many sites.

My email scammer had an old password I did use and forgot about. I think it was to a gaming registration, I can't remember but it was probably sold from someone who worked at a company I registered on. That's my thought.

I've also just started seeing these extortion attempts for $950 or so in bitcoin, with one of my old passwords in the subject header and the chestnut about me watching porn. I knew it was fake because I don't have any interest in porn (and so what if I did) and my camera on my 'puter is covered up, but the password was real - it was just a really old one. A few months back, I got a notification someone had logged in as me from Mexico and then Venezuela on some EA gaming site, I believe. I didn't even remember having that account (it was probably a one-time login I created for some fleeting reason), but when I tried to log in and check it out, that was the same password the account took. So, that might be the hack these are derived from. Or maybe it's the Yahoo hack someone else mentioned. I think I used to use that password for Yahoo a long time ago, too.

You don't understand. I never used bitcoin.It is the way the scammer demands payment; through bitcoin, in an attempt to remain anonymous. Here is what they said to me: "Thu‌s, I e‌xpe‌ct pa‌yme‌nt fro‌m yo‌u‌ i‌nte‌nde‌d fo‌r my qu‌i‌e‌t.

I be‌li‌e‌ve‌ $900 i‌s a‌n a‌ppro‌pri‌a‌te‌ pri‌ce‌ re‌ga‌rdi‌ng thi‌s!

Pa‌y wi‌th Bi‌tco‌i‌ns.

My BTC wa‌lle‌t i‌s 1P67uv2wEFCGZhU3DgH7azRxmrXc9kyX3g

If yo‌u‌ do‌ no‌t re‌a‌lly u‌nde‌rsta‌nd ho‌w to‌ do‌ thi‌s - su‌bmi‌t i‌n to‌ Go‌o‌gle‌ 'ho‌w to‌ tra‌nsfe‌r mo‌ne‌y to‌ a‌ bi‌tco‌i‌n wa‌lle‌t'. It i‌s no‌t di‌ffi‌cu‌lt."

This Bitcoin scam is not only targeting males! I am a female and have also received a similar threat. The email had somehow confiscated one of my passwords and threated to use pictures, etc. to make pornographic videos and posters using my face. They also demanded that I pay thousands of dollars in Bitcoin. I immediately recognized this as a scam, changed all sites using that password and did not respond. I wish I had kept the email and shared with the FBI. Thank you for telling us how to handle receipt of such and I will definitely report it to the FBI should I receive any similar emails.

I have received exactly the same email. I told them I was not a tech friendly guy and that they should send a paypal email as I do not know about how botcoin works. They never responded. Had they sent the paypal email, I would have reported to authorities.

I didn't know to forward to FBI instead of deleting and holding my breath. Glad I read this!

I am going threw this right now. A few days ago it was my phone. Blocked. Claimed the porno crap n demanding $500. As if the fbi use vanilla cards to collect fees. I new something was wrong. Needless to say i had to get a new phone. Yesterday i got the email n the fool wants me to pay $7000.

Hi, I just got one of these e-mails. Question, did they actually block your phone? They're saying they will block my phone, too. The password they said they had wasn't valid though, but was very similar to one I'd used years and years ago. I reported this to the fbi, copied and pasted it right into the fbi website complaint form!

I'm also a female that received the same type of scam email. They're letting me off cheap though! They only want $900 for now but they will probably come back asking for more if I follow their instructions. If they want to plaster my 62 year old face all over the internet with porn let them! hahaha I don't think anyone would find it very interesting.

I already have this and I find it helpful . You should of done this years ago. I tell people about the scams that you send out.

This hasn't happened to me but i do file a lot of reports of scam numbers. I usually get them every day. A lot from other states. ...

Thanks FTC, for your ongoing efforts! I received two of these scam emails within one week. While local law enforcement did not take a report, stating that since I had not suffered any loss there was nothing they could do, both the FTC and the FBI took my information. There has been no further action from the scammers. Keep up the good work, you guys!

Tell your local law enforcement to stop being lazy. Attempted crimes are still crimes regardless if they payout or not. Do they still investigate attempted murder if no one dies .. derp.

How can I make this as spam on my iPhone?

I just want to know how to report to FBI? Thank you.

Follow the link in this blog to www.fbi.gov/contact-us.

I am a female and received such a scam letter, stating that they had pics of me involved in sex acts and would expose me if I didn't pay them thousands in Bitcoin. I didn't think twice about informing the FTC. Wish I had know to forward the info to the FBI. But I am grateful the word is out to save people unnecessary grief.

I got a similar scam over a week ago but it was directed towards porn. I deleted it.

I've had this a few times now. I knew it was a scam immediately - but was concerned as they started the email with my password. I immediately changed the password.

After receiving one of these I immediately filed an on line report with the FBI and notified everyone on my mailing list that they could receive an email with a lot of pornography. I explained the attempt to blackmail me and the threats of the lowlife that thought that I was as dumb as he/she is. I have yet to hear back from the the scum that sent the blackmail.

My sister and co-worker received this e-mail. I will let them know. Thank You!!!

I received something similar to this. It tried to claim legitimacy by showing a one of my passwords (supposedly gathered by a keystroke logger and a hijacked webcam). I did some research and found that the password was an old LinkedIn password of mine from 4+ years ago, probably acquired through a LinkedIn data breach and sold to the extorter.

I ignored the threat email, since there was no way its claims were true. It was purely an attempt to scare me into complying with its demands.

Lesson: Change your passwords regularly, especially after reported data breaches. Also, keep your device's protection software current. Do not immediately click on links or attachments in emails you receive. Take time to inspect them for authenticity. Do not panic if you receive an extortion email. Alert the appropriate authorities.

Thank you for informing me about all these scams. I get calls on my cell phone daily trying to get my credit card information by telling me that they are trying to give me a lower interest rate. How can I stop this? I am already on the no call list.

I'm 24 yrs old and a single male. So far, I'm still being attacked, their are many groups of unwanted people within my life, I've been receiving many letters of different checks and I haven't succeeded any of my financial goals. I'm exhausted of trying to report each problem after many attempts in contacting the FBI and you guys and NOTHING in return. I know there's something fishy going on and all I'd like is my happy life back.. With a happy future... Please, I'd like to start a new ch. In my life because this is just stupid... Like at least a deal or something...

I am NOT the guy to sabotage. I got great knowledge so hire me asap and let's collaborate

P.s. ...get a load of this, the more I continuesly get attacked/bully etc., VALUE goes down. Its a long story/lesson to type right now but, the facts are there.. Just look at specific statistics since 2015, there's no need for stalking but more like pay me and lets get this show on the road..

Just received a letter in the mail demanding payment in botcoin, person whom sent it indicates he was doing a job in my hometown, much of the wording similar to other scams i have read about, again with the bitcoin account, why is it that bitcoin, being used by these scammers, cant shut these accounts down, how is it that a currency that is supposed to be the future of exchange allowing criminals such as these low life jerks to operate? This just gives bitcoin a very bad name and shows that its not ready for public use and as long as bitcoin exchanges allow this it casts a dark shadow on the value of its utility as a currency alternative. And where is the IRS on all this money exchanging? Illegal activities are still income that must be reported so there is both a criminal and a tax crime going on here.

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....

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.

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.

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