FBI Issues Scam Alert

The Jacksonville office of the FBI issued an alert this week, urging people to be on guard against a blackmail scam.

The FBI's Ocala office has confirmed receiving a number of reports about the scam, as well.

According to a release from the FBI, the scam begins when someone sends an anonymous letter to the victim.

The letter claims to have uncovered numerous acts of adultery by the victim, and threatens to reveal that information to the victim's family, friends, and spouse.

The FBI says the letter demands payment in exchange for secrecy.

The FBI release notes that, in an apparent effort to avoid detection, the scammer often insists on being paid in bitcoin, a virtual currency that is legitimate but difficult to track.

Officials say this particular blackmail scam is not new. 

They say it comes in many forms, and will continue to evolve as scammers change their tactics to remain successful. 

Federal agents say it is not known how widespread this version of the blackmail scam is currently; though they say a similarly worded letter has been reported to law enforcement agencies across the country.

The FBI says it is advising victims of the blackmail scam, or any other fraud, to contact their financial institutions and file a report with law enforcement. 

People are also encouraged to submit the information to the FBI's Internet Crimes Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov. 

According to the FBI release, IC3 helps law enforcement understand and track scams as well as better inform the public.

The FBI says additional information regarding common fraud schemes is available at https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety.

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