D.A. Office warns of blackmail scam from fraudsters sending letters or emails


If an email pops up with information about a “secret,” it could be the latest scam affecting email users in Los Angeles County, according to the latest scam alert from the LA County District Attorney’s office.

“Scammers are looking for a quick payday or upping the ante in placing big bets that someone out there has a dark secret,” said deputy district attorney William Pfaff. “In the blackmail letter scam, fraudsters mail out letters saying they have information or secrets about their target. Scammers use scare tactics, claiming they have emails, photos or proof of an affair or other scandalous situation.”

Intimidation continues when scammers demand payment, often in bitcoin, in order to remain silent. The reality is any letter or email people receive is a ruse, and the scammer is not withholding any damaging information.
Avoid succumbing to any risks by following the D.A. office’s following tips:

  • When receiving a scam letter or email, do not trust its outrageous claims or demands.
  • Make no payments to unknown people or entities with bitcoin while on the phone, online or in person.
  • Change the passwords to your email and social media accounts after receiving such a letter; hackers often sell to blackmail scammers a list of compromised account holders.

For more information on how the scam works, watch Pfaff explain at da.lacounty.gov/community/fraud-alerts/.

Those interested in more information can follow @LADAOffice on Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date news. The above information was shared with The Signal via a news release from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.

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