Extortion Email Schemes

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at the FBI is warning of an increase in email-based extortion attempts related to recently publicized data thefts. The recipients of these emails are told that their personal information (including credit card numbers and other personal details) will be released to friends, family, and contacts unless a ransom is paid in Bitcoin.

The emails include statements such as these:

“If you would like to prevent me from sharing this information with your friends and family members (and perhaps even your employers too) then you need to send the specified bitcoin payment to the following address.”

“If you think this amount is too high, consider how expensive a divorce lawyer is. If you are already divorced then I suggest you think about how this information may impact any ongoing court proceedings. If you are no longer in a committed relationship then think about how this information may affect your social standing amongst family and friends.”

“We have access to your Facebook page as well. If you would like to prevent me from sharing this dirt with all of your friends, family members, and spouse, then you need to send exactly 5 bitcoins to the following address.”

“We have some bad news and good news for you. First, the bad news, we have prepared a letter to be mailed to the following address that details all of your activities including your profile information, your login activity, and credit card transactions. Now for the good news, You can easily stop this letter from being mailed by sending 2 bitcoins to the following address.”

We remind you to never provide personal information via email and to not open emails or attachments from unknown senders. If you receive an email containing statements similar to those above, do not respond to the sender. Contact the IT Freedom Helpdesk if you believe your work-related information has been compromised.

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