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FBI Warns About Bitcoin Murder Scam

· January 27, 2018 · 7:00 am

A new extortion scheme has caught the attention of the FBI in which a Bitcoin scam is undertaken through an emailed death threat.

There are lots of ways that crooks try to extort money from their victims via the internet. Some of their tricks of the trade include sending infected emails or remote hacking. However, a new extortion attempt is proving to be downright scary and has attracted the attention of the FBI. Basically, the extortion attempt is a Bitcoin scam in which the victim is threatened with murder unless they pay up.

Scared for Your Life

One victim told her story to the media. She said that she received an email that said, “I will be short. I’ve got an order to kill you.” Her only recourse to supposedly save her life was to pay the would-be-assassin $2,800 in Bitcoin.

Needless to say, the victim was scared to hell by this murderous Bitcoin scam. She told the media:

I knew no one was tracking me. But I found myself as I was on my way to work looking around. Are any cars following me? Does anyone look suspicious?

Online Death Threats Not Uncommon

While one would think that such an incident would be rare, it’s actually more common than you think. The victim contacted the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center over the death threat.

death threat emails

About the agency’s website, FBI agent Laura Eimiller says:

We receive an average of 800 complaints a day in the United States on that site. We believe it represents about 15 percent of the scams that are actually taking place, so it is heavily underreported.

Agent Eimiller goes on to say that if you’re online, chances are that you will be victimized multiple times with various scams and threats. She adds that the current Bitcoin scam involving death threats is easy money for criminals as they rely upon volume.


She states:

If only 1 percent of people send money to them, there’s no overhead for them. That is money in the bank.

Police authorities say that even educated professionals have been lured in by the emails. The reason being that the emails containing the death threats have been carefully constructed. In short, this isn’t your old Nigerian scam email. Plus, having a death threat show up in your inbox is enough to freak any sane person out.

While the internet does allow us instant communication and access across the world, it does open us up to attacks from bad guys just using a keyboard. The best thing to do if you get such a murderous Bitcoin scam email is to not answer it. Contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and register a complaint.

Have you ever received a death threat in an email? If so, what did you do? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons, and Bitcoinist archives.

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Říj 03

US Government Nets $48 Million from Sale of Silk Road Bitcoins

· October 2, 2017 · 8:15 pm

The US government finally claimed $48 million USD earned from the sale of bitcoins seized from Silk Road, the online drug marketplace that was shut down in 2013.

It may have taken a couple of years, but the US government finally has their grasp on the money earned from their seizure and shut down of the notorious Silk Road marketplace. The online drug market was shut down in 2013, and the government seized a total of 144,336 bitcoins, which they auctioned off in 2014 and 2015. The holdup in getting the auction proceeds was a series of legal challenges from Ross Ulbricht, the original operator of Silk Road, that contested the legality of the seizure. Ulbricht has decided to drop his claims, which means that the US Justice Department now has $48 million USD in their pocket.

Silk Road shut down

Taking Down the Silk Road

The online Silk Road marketplace was a haven for anonymous transactions for all sorts of illicit goods and activities, particularly narcotics. The main figure associated with Silk Road was Ross Ulbricht, who went by the moniker of the Dread Pirate Roberts (from the movie The Princess Bride). The site began as an anonymous venture, requiring word-of-mouth for exposure. Yet eventually the site became more well known, with Ross Ulbricht even giving Forbes an interview. Eventually, the authorities took notice and went to work to take Silk Road and the Dread Pirate Roberts down.

The operation was a success, and the FBI managed to track down Ross Ulbricht by examining a number of counterfeit ID documents in packages coming from Canada to the same address in San Francisco. Silk Road was shut down (even though other versions have popped up), and Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

Ross Ulbricht fake IDs

Timing is Always Important

Now we get to the part of the story where Bitcoin holders will shed some copious tears. The US Justice Department sold off the 144,336 bitcoins seized for an average of $334 each back in 2014 and 2015. If they had waited until Ross Ulbricht finally dropped his claim about illegal seizure, those same bitcoins would net around $630 million today.

As for the $48 million USD, there’s no word on where exactly the money will go. It could go to the FBI, IRS, or even the US Treasury. Of course, one can assume that the money will be wasted as the federal government is rarely a good advocate of financial responsibility.

What do you think about the US government finally getting the $48 million raised from selling 144,336 bitcoins? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.