It may be months since the Ashley Madison adultery website was hacked, but the story continues to run and run and has now taken a further unpleasant turn.
Since the Ashley Madison hack happened, I have received a steady stream of emails from the site’s users worried that their membership of the site might be revealed to their friends and family.
And, as we know, internet low-lives have been exploiting members’ fears by spamming out blackmail emails.
But, it appears, that blackmailers are also prepared to take things a step further – and write letters to the homes of hacked users.
Here is an email I received from a reader today:
I just received a physical postal letter to my house asking for $4167 USD or exposed my AM account to people close to me. is your advice the same as in your vid about email blackmail? Thank you.
Crikey. That’s nasty.
I can understand how it would be distressing for Ashley Madison members to receive a letter like that through the post, but I’m strongly of the opinion that – in the majority of cases – blackmailers are trying their luck, hoping that a small percentage of those targeted will pay up.
Some people possibly will be prepared to reach into their pockets in fear that their loved ones might find out that they joined the controversial site, and those will be the people that the blackmailers will focus on. But I can’t see what the blackmailers have to gain from going through with their threats.
Because, if they tell people close to you then they are ruining any chances that you will ever pay up. Think of it from their point of view. It’s a dumb business model.
In fact, the only scenario I can imagine that might make sense for the blackmailer to go through with their threats is if they are specifically targeting you and aren’t being primarily incentivised by the money, but a personal issue with you instead. In which case paying the money may not help anyway.
I understand that it must be very unsettling and worrying, but paying the blackmailers any money is only likely to make them focus on you more. Ignoring them is probably a better plan in my humble opinion.
Of course, as the blackmailers have physically sent you something – as opposed to email – that does mean you may have in your hands some useful physical evidence for the police to investigate the perpetrators.
If you have received such a menacing letter through the post, my advice would be to share the letter with the authorities (and obviously request their discretion).
If the police are to successfully build a case against someone they will be looking for evidence like this.
Here’s the video I made earlier this year about how you should respond to Ashley Madison blackmail emails – the advice is the same for those who receive the blackmail demands via the post. Don’t pay.
Stay safe folks, and don’t allow yourself to be blackmailed.
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