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New String of Bomb Threats Are Followed By BTC Demands

Summary:
A series of fake bomb threats aimed at some of America’s largest retailers has law enforcement baffled. The threats involved perpetrators asking for gift cards and bitcoin in exchange for not setting off explosives or doing lots of damage. Bomb Threats and Bitcoin… A Deadly Match? Among the big-name stores being targeted by the bomb threats are Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, and Whole Foods. The threats also took place in several states rather than isolated regions. Several individuals have allegedly called in and threatened to detonate bombs if bitcoin, cash, or gift cards were not provided in a timely manner. Thus far, an investigation has turned up little to no evidence regarding who could have been involved. Per police statements, the callers have repeatedly used

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A series of fake bomb threats aimed at some of America’s largest retailers has law enforcement baffled. The threats involved perpetrators asking for gift cards and bitcoin in exchange for not setting off explosives or doing lots of damage.

Bomb Threats and Bitcoin… A Deadly Match?

Among the big-name stores being targeted by the bomb threats are Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, and Whole Foods. The threats also took place in several states rather than isolated regions. Several individuals have allegedly called in and threatened to detonate bombs if bitcoin, cash, or gift cards were not provided in a timely manner. Thus far, an investigation has turned up little to no evidence regarding who could have been involved.

Per police statements, the callers have repeatedly used blocked numbers as a means of preventing their identities from being discovered. One call, for example, was made to a Chicago-based Whole Foods store. The caller said that if $5,000 in BTC wasn’t delivered to a specific address within a set period, a pipe bomb would be detonated within its walls.

A separate call placed to a Kroger grocery outlet in New Mexico demanded over $5,000 in Apple gift cards. Failure to comply, per the perpetrator, meant a bomb would go off and people would be hurt.

A spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued the following statement regarding the matter and its subsequent investigation:

The FBI remains vigilant and continues to work closely with our law enforcement partners on a state and local level. The FBI asks members of the public to maintain awareness of their surroundings and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.

Crypto-related crime is nothing new, but this is arguably the first time it’s taken on such a devastating tone. Robbing individual wallets or even an exchange is one thing, but this time around, lives are being threatened, property is in danger of being damaged, and many more harmful effects could be set to take place. The only good news, at the time of writing, is that these calls appear to be fake, though that doesn’t offer any excuses.

May Not Be Real

Still, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies don’t want to take any chances that there could be elements of reality to the calls. Thus, should stores receive similar messages in the future, they’re advised to get in touch with the FBI or local police forces and tell them about the occurrence(s) so more research and investigating can be done.

Lisa Bruno – a senior executive vice president of retail operations at the Retail Industry Leaders Association – commented in a recent interview that this is just another “evolving scam” for U.S. retailers, and that while still scary, incidents like these have occurred many times in the past.

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