GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – People in wealthy Greenwich, Connecticut value privacy and discretion.
Like any town, some have secrets to keep.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports, letters threatening to expose them are being reported to police.
“We’ve all done something wrong at some point in our lives. But they go to the worst-case scenario, ‘Oh, I don’t want my loved one to find out.’ And once again, it’s a scam,” said Greenwich Police Lt. David Nemecek.
The letters are addressed by name to married men in Greenwich and claim “I know about the secret you are keeping from your wife… I have evidence of what you have been hiding.”
Police say names and addresses are easily gleaned from the internet or mailing lists available for purchase.
“It has your information, your home. They try to put in as much personal information as they can to legitimize it,” Nemecek said.
Resident Tony Gillis said if he got such a letter, he’d laugh.
“I know what I do and don’t do. No one has anything on me that would put me in any type of jeopardy,” he said.
But police fear some might fall for the letter’s demand for payment from $2,000 to $8,000 in untraceable cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin.
“It’s an anonymous exchange, no way to track where the money went or who the money came from,” explained technology expert Ian Marlow.
The scammers send out many letters, hoping to snare one victim trying to hide a guilty secret.
“If you send 1,000 letters out, possibly you get one,” Gillis said.
Greenwich Police and other departments are working with various federal agencies, trying to find those behind the blackmail scam.
The FBI says the scammer doesn’t ask for an enormous amount of money, because victims are more likely to pay a smaller sum to make the perceived problem go away.