Special Agent

Scam Threatens to Reveal Secrets If You Don't Pay Thousands in Bitcoin

A new scam threatens to reveal the skeletons in your closet if you don't pay up thousands of dollars in Bitcoin.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it has received numerous reports from people who live in wealthy neighborhoods that they received a letter or an email that claims someone knows their deepest darkest secrets.

The letter says it will reveal those secrets unless the recipient coughs up a large sum of Bitcoin, which is harder to trace than other payment methods.

Special agent Matthew Desarno with the FBI's Washington Field Office said the letters include step-by-step details on how to make the transaction, which is different from what a lot of scams used to look like.

"So where in the past, many financial scams, blackmail schemes, extortion schemes, utilized wire transfers or other type of funds transfers, now we're seeing a significant rise in the use of cryptocurrency to facilitate financial scams," Desarno said.

The FBI says the letters include personal information like a username or password, likely stolen from the web, to make recipients second-guess whether or not it's fake.

The FBI gave the following tips for protecting yourself against such scams:

  • Don't open emails from unknown people
  • Check your bank accounts regularly
  • Report it to the FBI here if you or someone you know is a victim of the scam
Contact Us