Santa Clara County: Bitcoin Blackmail Scam Targets Residents

August 16, 2018 Updated: August 16, 2018

Santa Clara County prosecutors are warning residents of a blackmail scheme that aims to collect money in the form of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that is difficult to track. Some county residents have received letters that claim the recipient is hiding something from their families and must pay the sender to avoid having their secret revealed.

The allegations may be vague and could include statements such as, “I’m going to cut to the chase. I know about the secret you are keeping from your wife and everyone else.”

Prosecutors said the messages target people with guilty consciences or innocent individuals that do not want embarrassing allegations made public.

The scammers will cast a wide net, but likely do not know anything about the victim, according to prosecutors, and the best course of action is to ignore the letters and contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at (877) 876-2455.

Prosecutors said the threats will likely not stop even if payments are made, and scammers may demand additional large amounts of money.

Victims of the scam can also contact police or the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Consumer Mediation Services at (408) 792-2880.