JACKSONVILLE, FL—The FBI Jacksonville Division is warning residents of central Florida and beyond of an emerging scam that can target a variety of individuals. FBI Ocala has received numerous reports of the “blackmail scam” in recent weeks.
The scam usually begins when a scammer sends an anonymous letter claiming to have uncovered evidence that the recipient of the letter has committed acts of adultery. The scammer threatens to reveal the information to the recipient’s spouse, family and friends, and demands payment in exchange for secrecy. In an effort to avoid detection, the scammer often insists on being paid in bitcoin, a virtual currency that is legitimate but difficult to track.
The blackmail scam is not new. It comes in many forms and will continue to evolve as scammers change their tactics to remain successful. It is also unknown how widespread this version of the blackmail scam is currently. However, a similarly worded letter has been reported to law enforcement agencies across the country.
The FBI advises victims of the blackmail scam, or any other fraud, to contact their financial institutions and file a report with law enforcement. They should also submit the information to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov. IC3 helps law enforcement understand and track scams as well as better inform the public.
Additional information regarding common fraud schemes is available at https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety.