by Sue Curry
Two weeks ago I was the target of a scam. I discovered the invasion when I noticed an unfamiliar email, but what caught my attention was in the first line of the email, the sender had typed part of my password that led to my bank account.
The email stated if I didn’t comply with their request and send $3,000 in bitcoin to a specific location, embarrassing repercussions would follow.
The threat was quite unnerving.
However, what bothered me the most was their use of my password.
Taking the email seriously, I quickly changed my bank password, reported the threatening email to my bank, reported it to a special hot line recommended by the bank, and sent the email to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
After completing those tasks, my spirits were definitely lifted, but I still felt victimized, even though no money was lost. Contacting the proper authorities brought a sense of relief, as well as a feeling of protection and security, but even so, the violation is still disconcerting. Alarming.
Being scammed is also annoying, as it took approximately two hours to remedy. I spent most of my morning making phone calls, and follow-up emails to protect my various accounts and name.
We all know there are a lot of scams, we hear and read about them every day. The one I experienced is just one of many, but having my password made it uniquely personal.
If you are interested in getting an idea of how many scams are being perpetrated throughout the United States, go to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information website, and click on scams.
On the site there are 25 pages of documented scams and each page has approximately 10-12 different scams listed. Topics range from charity fraud, college test prep scams, vehicle history, Medicare card scams, Social Security Number scam, utility scams, and more.
Topics are also categorized by category/type.
And yes, right there in the middle of it all was a report entitled, “How to Avoid a Bitcoin Blackmail Scam.” My scam.
The blackmail scam report is dated August 21, 2018, and it says “the email is a criminal extortion attempt to separate people from their money.” The most important comment in the report was that “threats, intimidation and high-pressure tactics are classic signs of a scam.”
If you have time, you may want to visit the website; it appears to be a good source for maximizing the safety level of personal information. It also provides details about what types of scams are “out there.”
If you do visit the Consumer website, you will also find it provides important tips and guidelines on how to stay ahead of scammers –– how to avoid falling into their snare, and how to keep personal information secure.
Individuals can also sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams . According to the site, if you sign up, the latest tips, advice and updates on scams will be sent directly to your email inbox.
The blackmail threats imposed upon me, along with the scammer’s knowledge of my password, appear to be bogus.
I sincerely hope this is the last of it. Not just for me, but for others as well.