86-Year-Old Woman Looking for Free Bagel Outsmarts Bitcoin Sextortion Scammers

John Vibes
  • After signing up for a rewards program, an 86-year-old woman began receiving threatening emails from scammers, claiming that they had videos of her watching pornography.
  • Luckily, the woman did not fall for the scam, and now she is warning others who might end up in the same situation.

Sometimes our elders have a tough time with technology, and this often makes them a target for scammers who are trying to take their money.

However, 86-year-old Arlene Kaganove ended up being the wrong target for a group of scammers who attempted to threaten her into sending them $1,400 in Bitcoin (BTC).

Kaganove is a smart woman, with two masters degrees in chemistry and a law degree, but the thieves also made it very easy for her to realize that something was wrong, because they threatened to blackmail her with evidence that she knew could not exist.

The scammers told Kaganove that they had somehow hacked into her webcam and filmed her watching pornography. Kaganove seems to have a great sense of humor about the situation. She told NBC 5:

“They say they have been watching me watch porn. Which I find… hilarious. They told me I have very good taste in porn, so I thought that was nice.”

Kaganove said that it would be impossible for them to have this type of footage. If they were spying on her, she says that:

“They’d see a little old lady cursing at the computer because it’s not doing what I want it to do. I said, ‘This is about the most bizarre thing. I have to go tell all my water aerobics buddies about this thing.”

There is no doubt that Kaganove was just one of many targets in the scam, so she has gone public with her experience to warn others. She said:

“If they are sending six [letters] to me, they are sending a lot more to people. I am sure someone is sending them money.”

Panera Data Leak

Kaganove believes that her information was released in a recent hack of the chain restaurant, Panera Bread. She signed up for their rewards program to get a free bagel on her birthday, but little did she know that thousands of customers would have their data leaked by the company.

“I am always signing up for whatever comes free on my birthday. Never anticipated it would lead to extortion letters.”

Panera admitted responsibility for the leak, which they claim affected less than 10,000 people. A statement from the company said that the vulnerability had been fixed, and while e-mails, phone numbers, and addresses were compromised, no passwords were exposed. The Statement read:

“No MyPanera Rewards account passwords were exposed during the April 2018 incident. We also went over our forensic records from last year and confirmed that Arlene’s account was not accessed improperly."

In July, CryptoGlobe reported that scammers claiming to be from the British market regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), were using promises of guaranteed Bitcoin (BTC) gains to lure unsuspecting investors into their trap.