A new extortion scheme has caught the attention of the FBI in which a Bitcoin scam is undertaken through an emailed death threat.
There are lots of ways that crooks try to extort money from their victims via the internet. Some of their tricks of the trade include sending infected emails or remote hacking. However, a new extortion attempt is proving to be downright scary and has attracted the attention of the FBI. Basically, the extortion attempt is a Bitcoin scam in which the victim is threatened with murder unless they pay up.
Scared for Your Life
One victim told her story to the media. She said that she received an email that said, “I will be short. I’ve got an order to kill you.” Her only recourse to supposedly save her life was to pay the would-be-assassin $2,800 in Bitcoin.
Needless to say, the victim was scared to hell by this murderous Bitcoin scam. She told the media:
I knew no one was tracking me. But I found myself as I was on my way to work looking around. Are any cars following me? Does anyone look suspicious?
Online Death Threats Not Uncommon
While one would think that such an incident would be rare, it’s actually more common than you think. The victim contacted the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center over the death threat.
About the agency’s website, FBI agent Laura Eimiller says:
We receive an average of 800 complaints a day in the United States on that site. We believe it represents about 15 percent of the scams that are actually taking place, so it is heavily underreported.
Agent Eimiller goes on to say that if you’re online, chances are that you will be victimized multiple times with various scams and threats. She adds that the current Bitcoin scam involving death threats is easy money for criminals as they rely upon volume.
If only 1 percent of people send money to them, there’s no overhead for them. That is money in the bank.
Police authorities say that even educated professionals have been lured in by the emails. The reason being that the emails containing the death threats have been carefully constructed. In short, this isn’t your old Nigerian scam email. Plus, having a death threat show up in your inbox is enough to freak any sane person out.
While the internet does allow us instant communication and access across the world, it does open us up to attacks from bad guys just using a keyboard. The best thing to do if you get such a murderous Bitcoin scam email is to not answer it. Contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and register a complaint.
Have you ever received a death threat in an email? If so, what did you do? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons, and Bitcoinist archives.