US Federal Trade Commission Warns Against Bitcoin Blackmail Scams Targeting Men

Crime, News | August 23, 2018 By:

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a consumer warning about a new bitcoin blackmail scam targeting men.

Cristina Miranda, a member of the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education, said that scammers have been sending letters to men, demanding payments using bitcoin in exchange for keeping quiet about alleged affairs.

“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,” an example letter stated. The FTC said the letters also explains how to use bitcoin to make the payment.

“It’s enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine, but these chilling words are part of a new scam targeting men,” Miranda said. “This is a criminal extortion attempt to separate people from their money. Threats, intimidation and high-pressure tactics are classic signs of a scam.”

Miranda recommended that potential victims report letters “immediately” to both local police and the FBI.

While the warning deals specifically with a scam accusing men of infidelity, it appears that the bitcoin blackmail scam may also be targeting women. In the comment section of the FTC’s warning, a female user said that she 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,” she said. “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.”