Old Email Scam Gets Renewed Attention Due to Bitcoin Twist

TheMerkle Hashminers Scam

Scams have become an integral part of the cryptocurrency world. It is an unfortunate development, but one that is entirely to be expected in any industry gaining mainstream traction. In the case of Bitcoin, a completely new scam is making the rounds. As part of this effort, users may receive an email claiming that they have to fork over Bitcoin if they “value their life and family”.

Bitcoin Scams Evolve Somewhat

It is always important to put things into their proper perspective when a Bitcoin scam arises. The latest venture is not new by any means, as it has been making the rounds for at least ten years. However, the scam never previously asked for a Bitcoin payment, which puts a somewhat new twist on this existing scam. It’s not necessarily the best base for a money grab, but it may still work out for some scammers.

The scam in question comes in the form of an email which was seemingly sent out in a completely random manner. In the message, scammers tell users that they have been instructed to kill the recipient of this email by a “close friend”. A lot of people will laugh off such a message, but given the way our society works these days, no threat should be taken lightly, as unrealistic as it might seem at first.

The sender also claims that the victim has been under surveillance for some time now and decided to put their reputation at stake by not killing their assigned target. Instead, they are asking for a payment of 0.5 Bitcoin – though the amount is subject to change – to avoid having to kill their target. The email includes a Bitcoin address to which the payment can be sent.

While this is clearly a fake threat, it is likely that some people will fall for it. Sending half a Bitcoin to strangers on the internet is always asking for problems. Additionally, Bitcoin is not an anonymous currency, and thus it makes no real sense for professional scammers to use this particular payment method. Even so, smaller scammers continue to think Bitcoin is the go-to tool to mask their online activity, but they will be sorely disappointed at the end of the day.

Anyone in the world knows that assassins can be hired to kill people of interest. Some of this activity will undoubtedly occur on the dark web, which has become the go-to place for criminals, scammers, and people with anything but honest intentions to do their business. Even so, it is highly unlikely that anyone would hire an assassin to kill the recipient specifically, especially if he or she is not a public figure or anyone of major importance to the rest of the world.

The fact that this ‘comply or die’ scam is now asking for a Bitcoin payment does raise some interesting questions. While the popularity of cryptocurrency has not waned much – especially not among criminals – it only makes the message appear even less legitimate. It will be interesting to see whether scammers decide to fine-tune this email to make it sound a bit more convincing. With none of the recipient’s information included in the email or any other details confirming the “surveillance” of this “target”, no one with a brain will take such messages seriously.


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