In San Francisco, Daniel Levinson received a letter that threatened to reveal Levison’s secrets to his wife and her friends if he did not pay $8,150 in bitcoin.
According to ABC News, the letter was addressed to Levinson with his home address. It stated the following:
“My name is BlackDoor-82 and I know about the secret you are keeping from your wife and everyone else. More importantly, I have evidence of what you have been hiding. I won’t go into specifics here in case your wife intercepts this, but you know what I am talking about.”
The threatening letter had even included a two-page “how-to” instruction guide to help Levinson purchase cryptocurrencies and send them to the blackmailer’s cryptocurrency account.
“The implication was that I was having an affair, but the way it was worded it could cover anything, maybe a gambling problem or drugs or alcohol,” said Levinson. “It made me glad that I’ve led a good life and that I’ve always been true to Nora. But I stopped to think, did I ever do anything that could come back and haunt me? No! I’m OK, I’m OK. You know, I had to reassure myself.”
Levinson has been married for almost 25 years and thus had little to hide from his wife and their happy marriage, however. The letter was naturally alarming, and he informed his wife Nora about the message on the same day. She initially laughed at the situation and stated that if someone told her that her husband was having an affair or committed a horrible deed, she wouldn’t believe it.
“We have a great relationship,” said Nora. “We’re very close. We talk about everything. I don’t think there’s anything he does that I don’t already know about.”
Blackmail in Crypto
The threatening letter was however not an isolated incident. In fact, similar reports indicate a growing scam initially reported in November 2017 from people across America. A few people have compared the threats to the Ashley Madison scandal where married men were threatened with the reveal and exposure of their infidelity.
As reported by ABC, the letter mentioned, “you don’t know me personally and nobody hired me to look into you. It is just your bad luck that I stumbled across your misadventures while working a job around San Francisco. I then put in more time than I probably should have looking into your life.”
It went on to state that “at this point you may be thinking “I’ll just go to the cops,” which is why I have taken steps to ensure this letter cannot be traced back to me. So that won’t help, and it won’t stop the evidence from destroying your life.” The letter then moves on to discussing the payment required.
Nora mentioned that “it’s disturbing but also funny. The way he calls himself Blackdoor and says I will be humiliated if I find these things out. That’s what made me realize they didn’t know anything about him and didn’t have anything negative about him.”
The $8,150 payment in cryptocurrency was considered a “confidentiality fee” to be paid in bitcoin. The letter contained 19 clear instructions to purchase and transfer the funds. Ironically, it also provided advice to find a reliable Bitcoin vendor “to avoid getting scammed.”