A spate of bomb threats nationwide today that turned out to be fake are related to a plot to steal bitcoins. Many of the emails directed recipients to send a whopping $20,000 worth of the cryptocurrency.
The massive tsunami of fake bomb threats widely caused problems in both the United States and Canada today, according to a report from the New York Post. The entire thing left officials working to figure out what was going on, and people in the cities remained on edge as the investigation continued. San Francisco, Cincinnati, Tampa, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Denver, and Boise, along with Ottawa and Calgary, received threats today.
In some areas, emails with the subject line “Think Twice” showed up. Plus, schools like Pennsylvania State University and Columbine High School also received bomb threats. In fact, in total, 24 schools in Colorado went on lockdown due to the threatening situation. Schools across the country released early due to the possible risks.
Eventually, the New York Police Department sent a tweet declaring that the threats weren’t credible and that they were an attempt to extort bitcoins out of people as well as cause disruptions across North America.
“Please be advised – there is an email being circulated containing a bomb threat asking for bitcoin payment,” tweeted the NYPD. “While this email has been sent to numerous locations, searches have been conducted, and NO DEVICES have been found.”
#Breaking: Threats reported at Columbine High School
— @jeffcosheriffco bomb squad, deputies, firefighters and an ambulance are on scene
— 24 schools in the area are on lockout
— news conference expected in moments
WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/FkIp8EsuIa pic.twitter.com/5HxT6Qvi43
— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver) December 13, 2018
NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau said,
“These threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide & are NOT considered credible at this time.”
Across the US, the Federal Bureau of Investigation joined local officials in investigating the fake bomb threats. Apparently, similar threats went out about a year ago. Authorities reported that the emails were written in the style of the Nigerian prince email scam, and some of the emails ended up going to the spam filter folders.
Many of the emails directed recipients to send bitcoin to this address on the blockchain. In looking at the address on block explorer, it appears as if nothing is going on with it and people were not fooled into sending the would-be bomber the popular cryptocurrency.
US News reported that across the country, buildings evacuated in response to the blackmail attempt. The FBI released a statement that said, “As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety.”
The emails affected businesses and public places in every sector today. There is no word on if this scam was some type of distraction for another crime.