A Reg reader named Dave*, who admits to having been a member of Ashley Madison, has sent us the letter he received from blackmailers.
Dave was in the early stages of a divorce when he signed up and “was separated … never paid, only looked at single women while deciding whether to pay to contact them, so zero fucks given.”
The letter starts off with:
Unfortunately your data was leaked in the recent leaking of Ashley Madison and I now have your information. I have also used your account info to discover your Facebook page, using this I now have a direct line to contact all your friends and family.
Dave isn't sure that's for real: he used a fresh email address to register with Ashley Madison and didn't leave obvious breadcrumbs. He's still a bit worried, though, because the letter goes on to add: “If you would like to prevent me from sharing this information with all of your known friends and family (and perhaps even your work too?) then you need to send exactly 1.05 bitcoins to the following BTC address.”
The scammer then gets a bit funky with logic and sentence construction with the following analysis:
You may be wondering why should you and what will prevent other people from doing the same, in short you now know to change your privacy settings on Facebook so no one can view your friends/family list. So go ahead and update that now (I have a copy if you don't pay) to stop any future e-mails like this.
The letter goes on to explain how one might obtain and transfer Bitcoin, then threatens that “if the Bitcoin is not paid within 3 days of 23 - August - 2015 then my system will automatically message all your friends and family.”
“Consider how expensive a divorce lawyer is,” the letter says, but Dave already knows that. “If you are no longer in a committed relationship then think about how this will affect your social standing amongst family and friends. What will your friends and family think about you?”
Dave contacted us and sent the letter we've quoted several days after the blackmailers' deadline, so it looks like his Facebook friends are unaware of his AshMad membership. And, as he said, he gives “zero fucks” about the incident. Others, however, appear to have coughed up to the tune of US$6,400, if not to the senders of this email than to those behind others. ®
*Not his real name. You'll understand why by the time you read down to here.