WESTLAKE, Ohio — Westlake police are warning of a sophisticated and extremely creepy bitcoin scam that has some residents on edge after receiving apparent blackmail letters demanding hush money to keep information about their alleged online illicit activities confidential.
Recently, several residents received letters that came in stamped envelopes with no return address label, according to a Westlake police news release.
In the letters, the scammer demands money in the form of a bitcoin payment and even includes instructions on how to buy and send bitcoin, as well as tips on how to avoid being scammed on bitcoin trading websites.
So far, no one has fallen prey to the scam, according to police.
The letters are extremely threatening and have some personal information tailored to the person it is sent to, but in some cases, it was addressed to a prior resident who no longer lives at the address it was mailed to, police said.
You can read a portion of one of the letters below:
I'm going to cut to the chase. My name is GreyCell87 and I know about the secret you are keeping from your wife and everyone else. More importantly, I have evidence of what you have been hiding. I won't go into the specifics here in case your wife intercepts this, but you know what I am talking about.
You don't know me personally and nobody hired me to look into you. Nor did I go out looking to bum you. It is just your bad luck that I stumbled across your misadventures while working a job around Westlake. I then put in more time than I probably should have looking into your life. Now I am sure a successful man in his sixties such as yourself has better things to do with his time than deal with someone like me. And 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. Those two options are to either ignore this letter, or simply pay me $20,600. Let's examine those two options in more detail.
Option 1 is to ignore this letter. Let me tell you what will happen if you choose this path. I will take this evidence and send it to your wife. And as insurance against you intercepting it before your Babe gets it, I will also send copies to her friends, family and to everyone on and around (address). So, (name), even if you decide to come clean with your wife, it won't protect her from the humiliation she will feel when her friends and family find out the sordid details from me.
Option 2 is to pay me $20,600. We'll call this my "confidentiality fee". Now let me tell you what happens if you choose this path, your secret remains your secret. You go on with your life as though none of this ever happened. Though you may want to do a better job at keeping your misdeeds secret in the future.
At this point you may be thinking, "I'll just go to the cops." Which is why I have taken steps to ensure this letter cannot be traced back to me. So that won't help, and it won't stop the evidence from destroying your life. Pm not looking to break your bank. I just want to be compensated for the time I put into investigating you.
So, let's assume you have come to the obvious conclusion that your best option is to pay the fee. You will pay me anonymously using bitcoin. If you want me to keep your secret, then send $20,600 in BITCOIN to the Receiving Micah: Address listed at the bottom of this letter. Payment MUST be received within 8 days of the post marked date on this letter's envelope. Tell no one what you will be using the bitcoin for or they may not sell it to you. The procedure to obtain bitcoin can take a day or two so do not put it off. If I don't receive the bitcoin by the deadline, I will go ahead and release the evidence to everyone. In that case the least you could do is tell your wife so she can prepare her friends and family before they find out. But you don't really want to have to do that now do you, (name) boy?
Anyone who receives one of these letters is advised to ignore it and throw it away. If you have fallen victim to the scam, you should call your local police department and notify the FBI at its Internet Crime Compliant Center, here.