According to a publication on the FTC site, scammers have been sending letters to men across the US demanding a ransom of several thousand dollars, payable in Bitcoin in order to not send evidence of their infidelity to their wives.
“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,” most of the letters start. It also explains how to obtain Bitcoins and to send them.
However this is a scam, the FTC warns. “This is a criminal extortion attempt to separate people from their money,” the publication reads. “If you — or someone you know — gets a letter like this, report it immediately to your local police, and the FBI. Threats, intimidation and high-pressure tactics are classic signs of a scam.”
Apparently those letters have been making the rounds for a while. According to a news item on CNBC from this January, the scammers have been posting those letters, mainly targeting men in affluent neighborhoods across the country, and have been doing so at least since last November. The only difference is in the sum demanded. The older letters were demanding a ransom of $2000, but the scammers are now bolder.
"The amount of money is such that it's not so much that someone might be willing to just pay that to make it go away," Patrick Wyman, an FBI special agent told CNBC, commenting on the earlier ransom notes. "They're hoping that they might get lucky with someone who actually … [has] some infidelity there. And if they hit that target, that's a person who's probably willing to pay."