An apparent bomb threat hoax demanding a payment in Bitcoin was circulated by email on Thursday, forcing local police departments to mobilize and evacuations at businesses, hospitals, government offices, news outlets, and schools across the country—including in California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, New York, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Michigan.
Search “bomb threat” in twitter and you see they are happening all over the country including the metro Atlanta area. @wsbtv
— Craig Lucie (@CraigLucie) December 13, 2018
The FBI said in a statement, "We are aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities around the country, and we remain in touch with our law enforcement partners to provide assistance. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety."
Several local police agencies have said that authorities have found no credible evidence that the threats contained in the messages are "authentic."
The Bitcoin-spam-scammers have moved on from fake blackmail threats to fake bomb threats. So far no-one's paid anything to the address, and I suspect it'll stay that way. pic.twitter.com/N5MOdmu8Jm
— Tom Scott (@tomscott) December 13, 2018
NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau:
“We are currently monitoring multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city. These threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide and are not considered credible at this time."
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 13, 2018
The incident triggered a flurry of reports and comments on Twitter, including from many recipients of the emails:
What is wrong with these people ? So now we have #spam with #BombThreat in order to extort money from you in #Bitcoin ... This world is really upside-down ...#spam #malware #security #crypto #criminals pic.twitter.com/y7gA8FQjjH
— TheCoinWarrior (@TheCoinWarrior) December 13, 2018
So I actually just got a bomb threat in my work email today ordering me to send the person $20,000 via bitcoin or they will blow up my place of work.... 2018 is wild pic.twitter.com/sn0vVLwe6v
— Ryanocerous Grant (@TheeRyanGrant) December 13, 2018
— Ron Fisher (@FisherSince_82) December 13, 2018
Police say the office received a bomb threat, but the threat which demanded money, appears to be a hoax.
— Jessica De Leon (@JDeleon1012) December 13, 2018
People could re-enter the 17-story One City Plaza, home to several companies, about an hour after the evacuation. https://t.co/iLOyxufoh3
— The News & Observer (@newsobserver) December 13, 2018