Scams: Bomb Threats & Bitcoins

If you are concerned for your safety or for the safety of others, always dial 9-1-1 immediately!!


A new email extortion scam is making the rounds, threatening that someone has planted bombs within the recipient’s building that will be detonated unless a hefty bitcoin ransom is paid by the end of the business day. [Krebs on Security]
  • On December 13, 2018, a rash of hoax bomb threats started to proliferate across the United States and it made waves through the news media.
  • Numerous business and institutions reported receiving the threatening email. 
  • The threats demand that a substantial amount of Bitcoin be sent to an address by the end of the business day or an explosive device in the building will be activated. 
  • The goal of this is scam is to extort money by invoking fear into the recipients and it is believed there is no intent to actually cause harm by using an explosive device.

The New York Police Department Tweeted:

At this time, it appears that these threats are meant to cause disruption and/or obtain money. We’ll respond to each call regarding these emails to conduct a search but we wanted to share this information so the credibility of these threats can be assessed as likely NOT CREDIBLE.
1:53 PM - Dec 13, 2018 · Manhattan, NY

Recommended Actions

In cooperation between the UWRF Police Department and the Division of Technology Services, the following list of recommended actions have been formed and are to be taken by anyone that receives this email.

  • Refer to your "EMERGENCY PROCEDURES" guide, dated August 2018.
    • Do NOT: evacuate the building.
    • Do NOT: activate the fire alarm.
    • Do call the police for further instructions.
  • Calling the police
    • If you believe the email is part of the national hoax and is not a specific threat against the institution (i.e. contains a generic threat, no reference to a specific building name, etc.) please contact the University Police at 715-425-3133.
    • If you are concerned about the threat's credibility (i.e. it does contain specific institutional level threat language, like naming buildings only at the UWRF campus) then call 911 immediately.
  • Forward the email
    • Forward the email to DoTS and to
    • Write a brief message on what actions have been taken (e.g., you have called the police department or have dialed 911) so we know how to respond to your forwarded email.

When reported to police, a due diligence will be done in the investigation of the email. They will provide additional instructions on how to respond. Call the police; do not rely on a response to an email forwarding to them.



Article ID: 68984
Fri 12/14/18 6:14 AM
Fri 8/14/20 11:59 AM