Numerous evacuations have taken place across the United States on December 13th after scammers sent bomb threat emails demanding bitcoin payment to a number of businesses, companies, schools, and other entities, according to reports.
No Evidence of Explosives Yet
As of press time, authorities indicated there is not any evidence so far of any explosives detonating or actually being placed. However, police are asking people to remain vigilant as they work through the threats.
It is not yet clear how far the email threat has spread, but law enforcement in numerous jurisdictions across the country have released statements on social media and other outlets about the situation.
The Federal Bureau Of Investigation said it is aware of the threats and remains in contact with law enforcement across the country.
We're working a number of bomb threat calls in OKC. There have been similar threats called into several locations around the country. No credible threat found at this point. We encourage the public to continue to be vigilant and call with anything suspicious.
— Oklahoma City Police (@OKCPD) December 13, 2018
MSP and partner agencies on federal and local levels are conducting risk assessment procedures regarding the threats and will determine appropriate responses. NO indications of any explosives located or detonated to this point. We will continue to communicate info when available. https://t.co/fPXhNy2vPF
— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) December 13, 2018
Speculation is the messages are robo-emails that were sent out in a group. The New York Police Department indicated on Twitter how it looks like they were sent to “cause disruption and/or obtain money.”
Please be advised – there is an email being circulated containing a bomb threat asking for bitcoin payment. While this email has been sent to numerous locations, searches have been conducted and NO DEVICES have been found. pic.twitter.com/7omOs13Z7Q
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 13, 2018
Bomb Threats Asking For $20,000 In Bitcoin
A number of people on Twitter posted screenshots of the threatening email sent by the bitcoin scammers.
So I actually just got a bomb threat in my work email today ordering me to send the person $20,000 via bitcoin or they will blow up my place of work…. 2018 is wild pic.twitter.com/sn0vVLwe6v
— Ryanocerous Grant (@TheeRyanGrant) December 13, 2018
The Bitcoin-spam-scammers have moved on from fake blackmail threats to fake bomb threats. So far no-one's paid anything to the address, and I suspect it'll stay that way. pic.twitter.com/N5MOdmu8Jm
— Tom Scott (@tomscott) December 13, 2018
The email is printed in an article by Heavy.com.
It begins declaring that “my mercenary” has placed a bomb in “the building where your business is conducted” that would wound many people upon detonation.
In order to “call off my man,” a payment of $20,000 in bitcoin must be made to an address listed in the message. The scammer says the guarantee to not detonate “will become valid only after 3 confirmations in blockchain.”
Different Versions Of The Messages
According to The Verge, there seem to be multiple versions of the email, some of which list a different type of explosive material.
The actual bitcoin wallet also looks to vary across messages. The Verge also wrote that it was able to confirm at least three wallets. It is not yet clear if anyone has actually paid the ransom.