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The friend said he had nothing to hide and suspects this is part of a random but well-crafted campaign to prey on men who may have a guilty conscience. The letter addressed the recipient by his first name and hometown throughout, and claimed to have evidence of the supposed dalliances.
It is just your bad luck that I stumbled across your misadventures while working on a job around Bellevue. Frankly, I am ready to forget all about you and let you get on with your life. And I am going to give you two options that will accomplish that very thing. That bitcoin address does not appear to have received any payments. Attached to the two-sided extortion note is a primer on different ways to quickly and easily obtain bitcoin. The clock is ticking, [name omitted].
However, as the extortionist rightly notes in his letter, the likelihood that authorities would ever be able to catch him is probably low. The last time I heard of or saw this type of targeted extortion by mail was in the wake of the breach at online cheating site AshleyMadison. But those attempts made more sense to me since obviously many AshleyMadison users quite clearly did have an affair to hide.
Whether that person follows through and pays the extortion, though, is another matter. I searched online for snippets of text from the extortion letter and found just one other mention of what appears to be the same letter: It was targeting people in Wellesley, Mass, according to a local news report from December The envelopes have no return address and are postmarked out of state, but from different states.
The people who have notified us suspected it was a scam and just wanted to let us know. I opted not to publish a scan of the letter here because it was double-sided and redacting names, etc. This entry was posted on Thursday, January 11th, at 1: You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.
Both comments and pings are currently closed. Its probably a case of the individuals exposure to the English language e. How would you enjoy joining Portnoy for a scorched soy porterhouse pork four-courser at Koi? Plenty of examples of recent usage in respectable publications U. I like send this kinds of mail to me rescam.
Brian, can you share your opinion on the usefulness, safety of using rescam. I scambait the romance scammers since I get them regularly.
It used to net some good things, would be able to string them along readily. However, most of them now just go for copy and paste. You can send them anything and they will just send a block of text that was clearly not customized at all back to you. Zero effort, nearly-zero time. Unless you can actively engage them perhaps scammers are still vulnerable to this?
That was clearly two bots talking to each other. I wonder if the extortionist was smart enough to use gloves when handling the letter, or use a sponge to wet the envelope? About a year ago, a client of mine got hit with ransomware and made the business decision to pay up to get his data back.
I did not approve but faced with the destruction of his business, I could understand his position. As usual, the actor demanded payment in Bitcoin which the client knew nothing about. I helped him buy some to pay the ransom and he decided to buy about 3 times more than he needed in case he got hit again.
He now thanks his lucky stars the day he got hit with ransomware and used some of the profit to improve the security posture of his business. Could be more of those letters in the mail soon, and ones that might be much more targeted: I agree with Clint that at least two scammers are at work here. Also, several grammatical and usage peculiarities are clues as to their nationalities. Has the bitcoin wallet received any funds? Not that this is the definitive way to find out if someone falls for it, but interesting nonetheless.
As noted in the story, no. But if I were the extortionist, I would be sure to create a new payment address for each target. Seems to go way back to varying demands for payment though https: Its educational and informational.
Someone actually took the time and spent the money to print, envelope, address, and stamp for a scam that would likely have a relatively high failure rate. Maybe the snail mail approach is attempting to bypass the critical thinking that many do with spam email.
Of course… if only one payment response would pay the bills, then any other payments would be profit. I doubt they went through the trouble of registering with USPS as a direct mailer to qualify for discounts on bulk mailings, since that would leave a huge paper trail.
It would be interesting to compare dates and postal codes of the sender on the envelopes with enough data points. Could be a few people doing this but it could just be one lonely guy couch surfing their way around the country.
I do already link to your site and story. Not sure what else you want me to do. If you want I can send you the redacted scan of the letter my source got. I only found your story after searching online for text from this letter. Look for the different color. I researched this after a colleague received the same letter. We found this blog post from , with recent updates, which shed some light on the situation for us. George, Thanks for the link to your great page on this subject! I skimmed over the entire thing and was very impressed with your work you have done, and posting to help others understand the scam.
When I saw the scan of the envelope used, I had to smile! The Bitcoin Blackmailer used a window envelope! That alone should have tipped off people about the scam, even those involved with affairs. This makes it more efficient to send letters in bulk. Is it realistic, though, to think the process is so automated that the mailing firm would never actually read what they are sending? I chose not to publish it because it is double-sided, and when you redact names etc on images someone can use photoshop and other tools to actually enhance the text on the reverse of the printed page, potentially exposing bits that you redacted on the other side.
Just saw you all talking about this up above in the comments. I loved the message about the person that paid in Bitcoin and then made a profit on the extra amount he put in his account. It may be true, but sounds fake to me. Early investors in a Ponzi scheme often make money at the expense of those that invest later. Perhaps someone on a work visa. I would look for this scam to start demanding lower payment amounts so it begins to work.
The letter receiver is suppose to think the sender wrote the whole how-to guide just for their one letter? This has been going on for a while, with several large waves of letters going out. My question goes to the idea of tracking. For many years now all laser printers, and probably other printers, have embedded forensic tracking codes. If you obtain a few of the original letters you might be able to take your investigation a step further. Who pays the miner fee for Bitcoin transactions?
Then repeatedly send them 0. Do you also try to annoy arsonists and murderers? Not endorsing, but to answer your question: It might be possible with Ethereum smart contracts, but the contract would show the amount on offer. That is an expensive campaign.
A lot of postmarks have the date and time. I will gleefully rub my hands when the speculative bubble finally bursts. Not too long ago there were remailing services that would, for a small fee, bulk remail letters, etc. You would send them the items you want remailed and they would drop them at different post offices,. It is a profitable business. Two weeks ago I got what I thought was a scam email.
It was for a freelance job that sounded like they wanted me to receive mail packages and mail them on to other addresses. I received the same blackmail letter on January 13th. The scammer demanded to send the payment to. If the scammer is finding victims by reading social media postings, this is another reason not to put personal stuff on the internet. My suspicion is that the attacker is just using the same lists that junk mailers use.
Only identifying information in the letter is name and address. Also only needs martial status and occupation judging by the high ratio of lawyers targeted. I have received a blackmail letter on January 14th too.