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Beware of bitcoin blackmail scam

Mission Viejo Police Services is warning residents to beware of a blackmail scam, after a resident reported receiving an extortion letter in the mail from someone looking to collect a $2,500 bitcoin payment.

The scammer targeted a married man, claiming to know the person’s “secret” and having evidence of his “misadventures.” The blackmailer threatened to reveal the unspecified information to the man’s wife, friends and family if the letter was ignored and payment wasn’t made. To remain anonymous, the writer demanded bitcoin payment and provided a specific receiving bitcoin address and time period to cough up the confidentiality fee.  Bitcoin is a digital asset and payment system. The system is peer-to-peer; users can transact directly without an intermediary.

The letter included instructions on how to make the deposit and told the man not to tell anyone what the bitcoin would be used for. The writer ended the letter by vowing to disappear and forget the referenced secret after receiving the payment.

Remember to never wire money, purchase bitcoins, gift cards or green dot cards in response to someone who is threatening you. If you have paid money and believe you’re a victim of fraud, contact our 24-hour dispatch line at 949-770-6011 to report the loss to law enforcement. Otherwise, the receipt of such a letter is not a crime but can be reported as attempted mail fraud to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service online at this link


Identical scam letter received in Half Moon Bay, CA 1/5/18.

I received an identical letter on January 5, 2018. The amount of payment requested was different ($3,550) and the bitcoin address was also different, but the letter seems identical other than that.

And....we're getting these in San Diego as well.

Just received a hard copy letter today at my home in Rancho Santa Fe,
using the exact language.

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