Popular travel and accommodation website CheapAir.com mentioned in a blog post how they were threatened with a social media smear campaign demanding $10,000 in Bitcoin.
CheapAir.com is a well-known website for intrepid travelers, but it’s also achieved notoriety inside of the cryptocurrency world.
The company was one of the first entities to accept Bitcoin [coin_price], accepting the cryptocurrency for flight and hotel bookings starting back in 2013. CEO Jeff Klee noted last year how Bitcoin’s price jump throughout 2017 led to an “unprecedented increase in sales with the digital currency.”
However, the site’s social media team was recently contacted by a group of extortionists who were looking for a cryptocurrency payout of their own.
Yet Another Bitcoin Extortion Scheme
CheapAir.com’s social media team released a blog post on August 28th detailing information about a “credible-cyber threat” which involved a demand for a Bitcoin ransom.
According to the post, those behind the scheme threatened to damage CheapAir’s relationship with their followers and customers by conducting a social media smear campaign.
The hackers said they would not follow through with their plans if the company sent them around $10,000 in Bitcoin. Of course, the CheapAir team said that “paying these cyber thugs” was not an option.
Those at CheapAir said the extortionists threatened to post “thousands of negative items on our social media accounts,” while publishing bad reviews on websites like Trustpilot — this all on top of an attempt to destroy SEO rankings by “spamming our blog backlinks with negative and profane anchor text.”
The post’s intention was to ensure customers received the “full picture of what’s going on,” in case they spotted weird social media activity across any of CheapAir’s platforms.
Despite having to ward off the scheme, CheapAir has remained resolute with accepting cryptocurrencies, even as many other businesses have started to shy away.
After Coinbase said they were shutting down their merchant platform earlier this year, CheapAir decided to turn to BTCPay for processing.
Some were surprised the company decided against BitPay, but Klee said the “free and open-source BTCPay server” allows CheapAir have more control over the processing experience. The company has also been working on accepting other digital currencies like Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and Litecoin.
Scams Just Keep Continuing
Even though the cryptocurrency market has had a turbulent 2018, there’s certainly no shortage of scammers and extortionists looking to target people.
In June, it was revealed that an infamous group of extortionists known as DD4BC threatened to shut down the servers of several companies in Scandinavia unless they paid 40 Bitcoin.
The collective has already caused a lot of trouble for entities in Europe due to e reputation of switching attack tactics and anticipating how people might attempt to thwart their schemes.
In mid-August, a different group of scammers threatened to reveal “dark secrets” about the wives of their targets unless they paid up in Bitcoin.
Those affected were residents of the swanky Chevy Chase neighborhood of Washington D.C. It quickly became evident the targets were in fact bachelors, so residents quickly reported the extortion to authorities and refused to pay.
What do you think can be done to curtail the amount of Bitcoin scammers and extortionists who are lurking for targets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Images courtesy of CheapAir.com, Bitcoinist Archives