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Bogus bomb threats across the U.S. are the scary new way for scammers to seek bitcoin

Bogus bomb threats across the U.S. are the scary new way for scammers to seek bitcoin
[Photo: Braden Hopkins/Unsplash]

Businesses, schools, hospitals, and other institutions around the country received what appeared to be hoax bomb threats in their email inboxes Thursday, demanding ransom payment in bitcoin in exchange for not blowing up their facilities.

“I can call off my man if you make a transfer,” said one, published by the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Police Department. “20.000 dollars is the cost for your life and business. Pay it to me in BTC and I warrant that I will withdraw my man and the device won’t detonate.”

Generally, published versions of the threats appear to be generic messages not actually geared to any particular organization.

Other threats have been reported around the country, leading to police investigations and evacuations. People were evacuated from a Georgia courthouse, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and schools around the country evacuated or took other actions to protect students. Newspapers including Park City, Utah’s Park Record and Raleigh, North Carolina’s News and Observer reportedly evacuated their buildings as well.

So far, police agencies say no actual explosives have been found. Local, state, and federal authorities are investigating the threats.

The Cedar Rapids message ended with an odd disclaimer: “If the explosive device detonates and the authorities see this letter: We are not terrorists and dont assume any liability for explosions in other places.”

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