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!

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

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 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.

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 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.

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!

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!

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 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 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.

I received the same email asking for $7000 today.

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