Crime - Sacto 911

Email scam seeks bitcoin payment from victims allegedly targeted for killing

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While regulators debate the pros and cons of bitcoins, the rising real-world value of this digital currency inspires the question: What makes money, money?

An email scam advising recipients that they will be killed if they don’t submit a payment in bitcoin is making the rounds in Placer County, prompting the Sheriff’s Office to issue warning to residents.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that doesn’t use a bank and relies instead on electronic transactions.

“Please do not pay anyone and delete the email,” the Placer County Sheriff’s Office advises in a Facebook post.

The Sheriff’s Office provided a sample of the emails people have received. In one, the emailer states, “I’ve got an order to kill you, because your activity causes discomfort to a particular person. I studied you for a very long period of time and made a decision to give you a chance, despite the specifics of my work, the rules of which don’t allow me that, as this will damage my reputation (almost 9 years of impeccable order executions ) in my circles ... I suggest you pay 0.8 bitcoin. I only accept bitcoin. Info on how to send funds in this currency you will be able to Google.”

The emailer states that once the funds are received, the name of the person ordering the killing will be provided, along with evidence that the targeted victim may turn over to law enforcement authorities.

The Sheriff’s Office asks people who receive such emails not to call law enforcement agencies, because the emails cannot be traced. Instead, residents are encouraged to alert others to the emails to prevent people from becoming victims of the scam.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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