Now it’s Ashley Madison wives who are receiving blackmail letters

“I am afraid this letter contains bad news”

Ashley Madison blackmail letters are being sent to users' wives | Graham Cluley

The continuing story of the Ashley Madison hack, and its repercussions, has taken another ugly twist.

We all know that extra-marital dating site Ashley Madison (motto “Life is short. Have an affair”) got hacked, and details of its members were published online.

You may even have heard that some users received blackmail demands through email, and that more recently some have been targeted with blackmail letters through the US postal system demanding thousands of dollars be paid or loved ones and friends will be told about their membership of the controversial site.

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That’s all horrid enough, but now things have got even nastier.

In the last week or two I have been contacted by a number of people who refused to pay the Bitcoin ransom after receiving earlier Ashley Madison blackmail letters, and are now reporting that follow-up letters have been sent addressed to their wives.

In some cases the husbands have intercepted the letters, forwarding scanned copies of the envelopes and letter contents to me.

Here is a typical example (redacted to protect the individual’s privacy):

Ashley Madison blackmail letter

Dear Mrs [Redacted] I am afraid this letter contains bad news. Perhaps you remember hearing in the news this past summer about a website called “Ashley Madison” being hacked. Ashley Madison is a website that facilitates people meeting each other that wish to commit adultery. The hackers released the membership and billing details of all the members. I am sorry to tell you that [Redacted] is a member of that adultery website. You, and some people you know, will be hearing from me via electronic communication in the near future with links and detailed instructions on how to confirm what I am telling you. But if you wish to do your own research before then you can search “Ashley Madison database” on Google to learn how to find it. Once you do find it you will see [Redacted] has entries in the database, including on [Redacted]. He signed up under the name “[Redacted]”, used this mailing address as his billing address and used [Redacted] for his email address. But as I said, if you have difficulty locating the database, and it can be tricky, I will be contacting you via other means in the not too distant future. That is also for my own peace of mind in case [Redacted] intercepts this letter before you read it.

Why am I telling you and people close to you about this? Well, a while back I sent [Redacted] a letter telling him if he did not send me $2,000 I would reveal his secret to you. Well, he didn’t pay. Either he thought I was bluffing or he decided to man up and tell you the truth. If he told you the truth I can respect that, but you should probably go ahead and prepare your friends and family for the impending communications from me. You can come up with some excuse to tell them in order to try and save you some embarrassment if you wish. Perhaps tell them he had his identity stolen and it wasn’t really him. They might be naive enough to fall for that. I told [Redacted] that if he didn’t pay I would be telling not only you but others close to you about his misdeeds. I guess your dignity wasn’t worth $2,000 to him.

You will probably show this letter to [Redacted] when you confront him so I would like to close with a little message for him. Hey [Redacted]! You probably thought I forgot about you, didn’t you? I told you missing the deadline would only bring you misery. I am sure you assumed I was just sending out multiple form letters hoping some small percent would pay up and that I wouldn’t actually waste time and money on going through with my threat. Well, you were half right. I’m a crook, but I’m not a liar.

In a further twist, the blackmailer has included a message specifically for the husband – predicting that in some cases letters may be intercepted before the wife gets to see them.

Ashley Madison blackmail letter

[Redacted], in the event you intercepted this letter that wasn’t addressed to you (naughty boy, reading someone else mail is crime) you have one more chance to make things right. And Mrs. [Redacted], if you wish to keep this information from spreading to others you know then this is your chance as well. To stop me from spreading this information to rest of the people in your lives send me $2,500 in bitcoin. Yes, that is more money than I initially asked. The additional money is the penalty for making me ask twice. I realize the conventional wisdom is not to pay blackmailers because they will just come back at you for more. That is generally good advice. But hopefully this letter has shown you that I do things a bit differently. People who comply with my demands don’t hear from me again. As for people like you, [Redacted], who don’t comply? Well, this letter to Mrs. [Redacted] answers that, now doesn’t it? I can be as tenacious as a bill collector.

You will send the $2.500 in bitcoin to the same bitcoin address I provided [Redacted] in my initial letter. Odds are [Redacted] doesn’t have that letter anymore. He likely either destroyed the evidence or he tumed it over to law enforcement. No problem. You will find the bitcoin address listed at the bottom of this page again. As a courtesy I have also re-enclosed the “How-To” guide in the event you don’t know how to procure and send bitcoin.

If you do not wish me to wreak further havoc upon your lives then send $2.500 in BITCOIN to the Receiving Bitcoin Address listed below. Payment MUST be received within 10 days of the post marked date on this letter’s envelope.

This latest round of blackmail letters is being actively discussed in the comments section of one of my earlier stories about Ashley Madison, where a number of users have confirmed that they have received similar communications.

In at least one instance, someone claiming to be the wife of an Ashley Madison user has left a comment, saying she has no intention of paying the blackmailer:

Im a wife and received my letter today informing me that my husband is a member of AM. He apparently already got his letter but disposed of it without me knowing. This stuff is crazy! I’m not paying. Expose the cheating bastard to whover the blackmailer decides. My letter was post marked Feb 22, 2016 from NO VA. My letter was sent to our old address in Illinois and then forwarded to our new address in Wisconsin. BTW, hubby admitted to being a member. That’s enough for this wife!

I don’t believe you should pay the blackmailer either. Paying blackmailers is an idiot’s game, and just means they can keep coming back for more and more money.

Furthermore, one has to wonder whether the blackmailer’s new scheme of writing to wives of Ashley Madison members indicates that their earlier attempts to extort money simply have not been as successful as they hoped. It could be argued that they are becoming increasingly desperate in their attempts to frighten people into coughing up cash, and that may increase the chances that they will make an elementary mistake.

Ashley madisonAnd, let’s not forget, it takes a lot more effort to determine the alternative contact details for someone’s wife, their friends and colleagues – information which was not stored in the hacked Ashley Madison database.

The sheer fact that the letters are addressed to “Mrs [Redacted]” rather than Sandra or Katie, indicates just how little the blackmailer really knows.

I’m not going to stand in judgement regarding the rights and wrongs of joining a site like Ashley Madison. As we have discussed before there are entirely innocent reasons why people might have been in the site’s database, or they may have joined the site long before they entered their current relationships.

But what is as clear as day is that blackmail is an abhorrent crime, and the criminal behind the current letter-writing campaign is playing a dangerous game.

As before, I would recommend that anyone who receives a blackmail threat through the US Postal Service contact the US Postal Inspectors Service and FBI so that they can investigate. I haven’t seen any reports of Ashley Madison blackmails being sent by post outside the United States.

My hunch is that whoever is sending these blackmail threats is more of a computer nerd than someone who is experienced in covering up any physical evidence they may have left on the envelopes and letters themselves.

Ashley madison wife envelope

Finally, if you are ever considering joining a site like Ashley Madison and don’t want anything like this to ever happen to you – be very very careful about what information you share with the site.

Ashley madison poll

Further reading:

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

103 comments on “Now it’s Ashley Madison wives who are receiving blackmail letters”

  1. Rachel Lawson

    "Finally, if you are ever considering joining a site like Ashley Madison and don't want anything like this to ever happen to you, you probably shouldn’t be doing it, should you?.”

    Fixed that for you…


    1. Joey L · in reply to Rachel Lawson

      There are reasons why people would sign up, not just to cheat on their better halves.

  2. James

    Heads up to everyone reading this.

    My wife just received one of these letters and I've never been to that website in my life. We just paid someone to do the research and they confirmed my info is not listed anywhere in the data. The blackmailer must've made everything up.

    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to James

      Other people who were members of the Ashley Madison site have reported receiving the blackmail letters.

      So, maybe the blackmailer has sent it to some people who weren't on Ashley Madison and some who were.

      One thing we do know, the Ashley Madison database was hardly the most reliable source of information in the wild. (Just another example of the company being sloppy…)

  3. David Ralston

    So in reading this article and previous one, seeing mail drop location of Maryland and NO VA. So this is clearly someone close to one of those locations. Folks there are a lot of non blackmailers vs.this one blackmailer. I feel like we need to band together to help LE catch this person.
    Anyone receiving a letter (first, or second to wife) needs to report to Postal Inspector.
    But also let's start thinking about honing in on those locations. The blackmailer is relying on someone feeling isolated and scared enough to pay. That is not the case.

  4. David Ralston

    Graham, curious do you have evidence from just one person, or multiple have sent you similar letters?

    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to David Ralston


      In fact in the video you see footage of more than one example of the "wife" blackmail letter.

      1. Reader · in reply to Graham Cluley

        I think that maybe getting this to the local news outlets in that area may spark some local participation and also scare the blackmailer into hiding and ceasing this altogether. People always see things, and someone may have seen the person dropping these letters off, or someone may even know who he/she is. A reward is also also a great idea because anyone that may be affiliated with this person would likely jump at a chance to get some free money.

        Maybe you should send this over to the news people. Unless the FBI doesn't recommend it. I think that people who live in that area that don't have much else to do would love to play Detective. Especially if they can help hundreds or thousands of people.

        1. JT · in reply to Reader

          Great idea! Perhaps we could find some local blogs or other online means of communication for those areas.

  5. JT

    I agree with a prior poster who suggested banding together. One way we could do this is by establishing a reward for providing information about the perpetrator. Someone that has already established FBI contact please suggest that they establish a reward fund for tips on this case. It would be very easy to implement. In fact, KRInternet law set up an online portal months ago to contribute to their efforts to prevent publishing of AM data. I was able to contribute in an anonymous manner to their fund. The FBI could do the same here and raise enough to offer a very attractive reward.

    Could someone please float that idea to their FBI contact?

  6. Rosen

    "…reading someone else mail is crime…" You couldn't make this up.

  7. Jason L

    Yes, also need to look into Philly area. As Graham mentioned, this is someone techy, maybe someone that uses Twitter, has/had a blog maybe. Who knows, maybe even works for a tech company, like Apple I would say.

    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to Jason L

      I don't know where you get the Twitter/blog/tech employee angle from…. but clearly whoever was behind the blackmail knows how to set up a Bitcoin account, knows how to explain how to send money via Bitcoin, and is capable of operating a Word processor.

      They don't have to be a rocket scientist to do those things, but probably a bit nerdy (because of the Bitcoin element).

      1. Jason L · in reply to Graham Cluley

        Yes, good point Graham. So maybe someone who has used or is familiar with Bitcoin. Maybe someone who writes about using Bitcoin, as the letter mentioned Bitcoin instructions.
        May be worth having LE look into Bitcoin user groups or communities in the region the letters are coming from.

  8. JPS

    So what do we know about this so far:
    1. Its a mass mailing letter all exactly the same except "personalized" with the AM members name. So much for any of us being specially targeted.
    2. The letters all seem to not only come from the same area, Northern VA, but were mailed out on or about the same date….Feb 22 2016.
    3. It seems according to Graham few if anyone has paid into the account
    4. I surmise we all got the same bitcon address to pay to…so how would the blackmailer ever know who has paid or who hasn't????
    5. It's a reasonably well written letter…no typos decent grammar etc. Whoever wrote this is half way intelligent suspending his lack of wisdom to resort to mailings etc.
    6. Lots of people have "outed" this scheme here suggesting we are tired of this and not willing to play his game. Chances are he is aware of that.
    7. Many has indicated they have shared these letters with the authorities….wonder how he feels about that and the notion the feds are likely on the lookout for him….probably even actively searching for him
    8. So won't someone make the effort and post here what the federal penalties are for interstate mail fraud, extortion cyber crimes and whatever other federal laws he has broken. Seems only fair the knows the consequences of his actions……
    9. As much as I don't want to be found out (by my partner) and I hate blackmail I think his crimes are far more odious. I hope he is thinking of what can and will happen to him when he's caught…it won't be pretty.
    10. There is indeed strength in numbers…lets keep this erstwhile community alive and by extension, the pressure on the scumbag who is doing this.

    Thanks Graham for this effort and your forum…….hats off to you!

    1. David Ralston · in reply to JPS

      How do you know it's the same BTC address? Has that been verified by Graham for the few letters he showed on the video?

  9. clarence

    i have emailed links to Graham's stories to several local news stations (five to be exact). they all have email addresses to leave tips about news stories and such. i would encourage others to do the same. put pressure on this guy. lets not forget the print press as well. i said that it appears a local resident is running an ashley madison blackmail scam.

    1. JT · in reply to clarence

      You're awesome Clarence. Thank you. I made a list of all the 220 zip codes. There are about 20 small towns with Fairfax being the biggest. I'll reach out to blogs and other media outlets from the list to make sure we're covered.

      1. David Ralston · in reply to JT

        Does anyone have a way of finding out local LE information. Ideally we want US Postal Inspector's and FBI. But we need an actual person, not a site.
        Graham, have you been in touch with an actual human from any of those agencies?

  10. Hester

    Look, if these are real I can understand the concern and anger at receiving one. And yes, report them to LE.

    However, for a group of folks who seemingly are still trying to hide, the strategy contacting of everyone in the area just blasts the story to the headlines all over again. Providing a general populace who has lost its appetite to run its own angry mob after you a reason to be curious and look again may not be the best solution. Extortion is a crime. LE should be serious enough.

    In other words, let LE handle it from here – but contacting a million blogs will not find your perp.

    1. sean · in reply to Hester

      I agree with Hester. It seems strange that a lot of people who have gotten a letter and is on the database, wants to blow this story up again by calling all these media outlets. I understand trying to catch this Blackmailer if in fact all of this is real, but is this the best way to do it by drawing attention back to you again? I agree with Graham and the previous poster, if you got a letter contact the US postal inspector and or the FBI and give them the evidence.

      In my opinion, blowing up this story seems like it will only bring attention back to the AM victims.

  11. Chaos

    This low life be caught. I know of a group of people that have been working this and will continue to work it until this swine is behind bars. To late for you now brother. Keep pecking away at your typewriter – make that trail of breadcrumbs easier to find. It's coming and soon we will all know you. Keep LE and the postal inspector in the loop but I bet you we will get there first. See ya soon.

    1. Nick · in reply to Chaos

      The reality is that this scoundrel could be placing his own family in jeopardy. Eventually this clown will be caught and his identity will be known. There will then be an awful lot of angry people who now have nothing to lose. They'll remember that this guy's stated intent was not just to harm them, but to harm their family members. Some may decide to seek retribution in kind, i.e., against his family, while he sits rotting in a jail cell. Not that I'm advocating for that, but it's hard to say how people who are in an emotional state after having their lives ruined will react.

  12. Matthew

    Can someone post the bitcoin address the guy is using? I can look it up in the blockchain and see if anything jumps out. I can also tell if it has received any payments.

    1. Chris · in reply to Matthew

      Suggest – strongly – that you and anybody else here thinks carefully about their actions. You could end up interfering in an ongoing LE investigation, with unforeseen negative consequences. Let the Police do their work and see what comes out of it. The fewer civilians there are getting in the way, the better.

      1. stan · in reply to Chris

        chris is right. i can only assume that at this point in time, the postal inspector and fbi are involved. if you want to help, send any letter or envelope you get to the postal inspectors office that serves the 220 area (see below)

        Postal Inspection Service
        10500 Little Patuxent Pkwy
        Suite 200
        Columbia, MD 21044

  13. JT

    You guys made good points about interfering with LE. I share your concerns but thought spreading local awareness might be helpful. I will stand down and let LE do their thing.

  14. Jessa

    Um, Yeah. I'm a woman who just got one of these in the mail.The thing is I'm not even married and never have been so nice try. I did a search to figure out what the heck is going on and this blog is the only thing that popped up. Are you engaged in some twisted mass mailing BS? Is the person who owns this blog responsible for the letters because I can't find anything else online about this. Smells like a scam to me.

    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to Jessa

      Ain't me lady.

      I'm based in Oxford, in the UK. I think I have only ever been to Virginia (where it appears most of the blackmail letters are postmarked) once in my life for a meeting at the Pentagon.

      What we do know is that some of the information in the hacked Ashley Madison database was erroneous. Maybe the blackmailer goofed up in your case.

      Let's hope they carry on goofing up, or – preferably – stop their dangerous antics altogether.

      1. Chris · in reply to Graham Cluley

        I must admit this gave me a wry smile. I suppose if a blackmailer wanted great cover, he would pretend to be a security industry veteran with a highly visible profile from Oxford. The perfect crime…

        Though the thought just occurred to me, could that be the original blackmailer or an associate attempting (poorly) to undermine you Graham? I do hope that you are logging IP addresses.

    2. coyote · in reply to Jessa

      If this website is a scam then you're a troll (hopefully the kind that turns to stone when they're caught by the sun). I'll let you decide (or not) what kind of troll I refer to. I'll suggest though that no matter which kind you prefer, both involve low intelligence. Most conspiracy theorists actually do a really good job; toddlers come up with better stories than you do! What a sad life you must live.

  15. Bruce

    I agree. Lets let this story die and not involve media. Starting with Graham, we do not need to draw any more attention to this story. I think this letter is a hoax amyway but let LE do its job.

  16. Brian K

    Did anyone notice on Cluleys screen he had a YouTube clip of AC/DC Thunderstruck? I am not saying this makes him the blackmailer or the impact team…but I think some questions should be asked.

    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to Brian K

      I'm more of a Joni Mitchell fan.

  17. Nick

    Several people have now claimed on this blog that they had no connection to AM but received a letter anyway. Others who admit to being on the site have said that the letter referenced a credit card or an email address that they didn't use there. Makes you wonder if this scumbag even has access to the database. He could be sending out letters to random people and it just so happens that some people really were on AM. But this is all the more reason to publicize this scam despite the warnings from some people above. At best, someone in northern Virginia will see it on the news, and then maybe one day they are approaching a mailbox and they see someone wearing plastic gloves dropping off a bunch of letters with no return address and they can provide a description or license plate number to the authorities. At worst, it alerts people to the scam and that, even if you weren't on AM, you may get one of these letters. People will then start looking at this in much the same way as they do an email from a former Nigerian government official who wants to wire $10 million to your account and let you keep half of it.

    1. sean · in reply to Nick

      I have to disagree with you. I understand everyone wants to try and get this person but I don't think blowing this story up does that. Do you think people are really going to start looking for someone doing mail drops wearing gloves cause they all want to get the blackmailer sending Ashley Madison Extortion letters? Come on. Regardless of main stream news, if anyone saw someone doing large mail drops wearing gloves they would probably call the police anyway thinking he or she is a terrorist possibly sending anthrax letters. In addition to that, do you think people who are not on the leaked Ashley Madison database are going to care about junk mail that is extorting money from them? Are they going to go online and figure out how to acquire Bit Coins to pay these blackmailers in fear of being outed? They weren't even in the database. They are more likely to just throw it in the trash or contact a postal Inspector or post office to notify them of the issue. What does blowing up this story do to change that for them? People do have common sense and will hopefully use it.

      If people are getting these letters they should take them to the Postal Inspectors or the FBI and have them look into it just like Graham has mentioned.

  18. Mark Jacobs

    Worried about leaving behind DNA evidence? My advice – use gloves and don't lick the stamps; always use a damp sponge when you've got 5,000 to seal and post. :-)

    Men and women have different attitudes to promiscuity – most men like it, and most women detest it.

  19. Mike S.

    Seriously Graham, why hasn't the AM Hacker been caught ? How can one little religious fanatic get away with getting into everyone's private business and causing so much chaos to so many families. People have been cheating on their spouses for centuries but this hacker has gotten away with the Hack of the Century and is probably laughing at all the police and security companies who can't solve this huge breach of personal privacy.

    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to Mike S.

      Most hackers don't get caught. Some do, of course. And it's hard to imagine that whoever was behind the Ashley Madison hack, with all the hoohah and attention it has received, hasn't felt tempted to boast about it to *someone*.

      So, someone knows who hacked Ashley Madison is my guess.

      Mind you, the hacker is almost certainly a different person from the blackmailer.

  20. joeblow

    HEADS UP: Ok, I don't want to alarm people. I still think it is logistically unlikely the blackmailers will do this to everyone or even most people. When I received the first letter I ignored it. And as I mentioned in previous comments, I intercepted the second letter addressed to my wife. I didn't pay that one either.

    Over the weekend the blackmailers sent emails to people at our church and to some of my son's track and field teammates. The email addresses are all different but the text of the email was all the same. The emails refer to me, my wife, and son by our first names and state that I had a membership at Ashley Madison. It lists links to websites describing how to access the database and points them to particular dates to search in the database for my personal information. The emails reference the first two letters and even list the same string of bit coin numbers that was on my first two letters, I guess to prove they are the same people? They do not request any more money and do not threaten any future contact. The emails conclude with, “My business with 'My Name' is now complete.”

    I did sign up for it out of curiosity when I saw it mentioned in the news once but I certainly never met anyone or attempted to meet anyone through the site. I love my wife and would NEVER do that. My wife and son shouldn't be getting punished for my spur of the moment stupidity.

    As best as I can tell the blackmailer probably found out my wife and son's names through a people search or a reverse address search. My wife is listed on our church's public email prayer list, as are many of the people who received the emails. My son is listed on his team's webpage and many of his teammates emails are listed there as well.

    If your family doesn't have any kind of online presence you are probably ok. If your family DOES have contact info listed anywhere online you might want to try and remove it or at least warn your family of what COULD happen.

    Intellectually I know I made the right decision in not paying the blackmailers. But after this last attack my brain is having a hard time convincing my heart of that fact. Good luck to all.

    1. David Ralston · in reply to joeblow

      Do you feel like a big weight has been lifted off your shoulders? I have to say, the more I hear of these stories, the easier it is in dealing the the threat of me getting a blackmail letter. Thanks for sharing, you actually did a lot of good because up until now the unknown was the fear, but knowing the blackmail could out someone and they still survive, will embolden me and should others. Thanks again Joe!

    2. sean · in reply to joeblow

      Wow. If this happened I am really sorry. I still find it hard to believe that a blackmailer is going to go through the trouble and take the time to email everyone with no monetary gain. Unless the person knows you and this is more of a personal attack. If they did use a people search web search, they would have had to pay for each search to get the info. The basic search is about $5 for each report. That's a lot of money when you start thinking about large scale blackmail scams. I also did not know schools can publish email addresses of minors on the web. I would imagine a church would not publish their members emails on the web either. But who knows when it comes to religious institutions. Either way I hope you report this to the US Postal Inspectors and the FBI.

      I contacted the US postal Inspectors last week and tried to see if there was an investigation being done. They did not seem to be able to give me any info. So I gave them this website in hopes that they will try and take some action. Since I have not gotten a letter I can't file a report. I will try and see if there is a tip hot-line of some sort for the FBI as well. If this is really happening they should get involved and help all these people.

    3. Butwin · in reply to joeblow

      Yeah….this didn't happen.

      1. Sean · in reply to Butwin

        I agree I think this another prank, letter and all. Seems like the ones done on Reddit.

    4. Joe Blow is Blackmailer · in reply to joeblow

      Law enforcement should subpoena Cluley for the IP information of Joe Blow. Clearly, this is the blackmailer or someone associated with him.

      1. Jason L · in reply to Joe Blow is Blackmailer

        What makes you say he is the blackmailer?

      2. I think it's Joeblow too · in reply to Joe Blow is Blackmailer

        I'm starting to feel like that is bullshit, too. Joeblow's post was convincing up until that last sentence about paying. Then his first sentence says he doesn't think it will happen to most people. I think he should be checked out as well. That post just doesn't make much sense to me. And all of his posts are very detailed just like the letters that some of us received.

        I'm sure Graham and some authorities are likely watching these threads so it'll either fizzle out or they'll track the blackmaiker down in due time. I apologize if it's not you, Joeblow, but right now you're looking kinda suspect to me.

      3. Nick · in reply to Joe Blow is Blackmailer

        I'm sure that, as we speak, Joeblow is busy fabricating the "email" that all of his friends received. He'll submit it to Graham next week so he can write yet another story to further perpetuate this hoax that, for some reason, not a single news organization has reported on. Out of curiosity, I randomly googled churches and prayer groups and could not find one that publicly lists its members' email addresses. I would also point out that law enforcement does not take kindly to criminals who target minors. That is predatory conduct and sending threatening emails to someone's kids and their friends would certainly raise the stakes for LE significantly.

  21. Annoyed


    Have you done any analysis of what states, and what zip codes are being targeted by the blackmailer?

    Were the folks receiving these horrible attacks members at the time of the hack? Had they deactivated? If so how far back are the black mailers going?

    I was signed up by a coworker, both as a prank and to do some shady checking out of their family members. I never "played" but when my email started getting loaded with communication from Ashley, I got suspicious and logged in, and paid to be deleted.

    Needless to say I feel vulnerable, angry and powerless.

    I've gotten two email blackmail attempts about a month ago. Nothing before or since.

    Any consensus on the experience of others?

    1. Joey L · in reply to Annoyed

      IIRC, if you paid to be deleted, you weren't actually deleted, only a flag was put on your account to say you had paid to be deleted.

      There's not enough data to pinpoint down to what states and zip codes were being targeted. Past and present members (and even some non-members, i.e. not even in the database) have been subject to threats.

  22. Jim Blatten

    Sorry to hear this Joe. I hope you and your family are doing okay.

    I have some ideas about this final step the blackmailer took.
    Can you email me at [email protected]

    1. DC · in reply to Jim Blatten

      Dude… this is a public forum. You just broadcasted your email to the entire world including the current blackmailer AND future blackmailers. Moreover your email contains your first and last name. I hope for your sake you gave a fake email and name. It is likely that the current blackmailer is combing through these posts. No one knows each other here but now everyone knows you. If you read the other posts, Joeblow's post is suspicious. The tone of his post doesn't sound like someone in distress. He is very matter of fact in his presentation of his situation. The blackmailer probably has the ability to out everyone. However, the blackmailer probably prefers to be paid. A post like Joeblow's is designed to scare people into paying the blackmailer.

      1. I think it's Joeblow too · in reply to DC

        I'm glad you brought attention to that so I know it's just not me. I did a quick Google search and I noticed that Jim Blatten and Bob Blatten don't even exist so those are probably 2 of his aliases along with Joeblow. I wouldn't recommend anyone emailing that address because he probably set it up to collect info on anyone that emails him so he can use it as mentioned in that bogus Joeblow post above to scare people in this forum. I'm sure that the LE looking into this are noticing that as well so it's just a matter of time. I think he is getting too cocky to keep this going for too long. It's probably best for him to take the money he has collected and move on.

  23. Jim Blatten

    Not sure I follow. If you read my post I am asking Joe Blow to email me. So based on your theories, blackmailer should email blackmailer, yes…?
    I am not the blackmailer (and I appreciate that means nothing to you). I was simply trying to band together victims to help get through this, and maybe go on the offense.
    But the internet has proven once again, too many voices dilute the matter in hand.

    Anyone, Joe blow or any other victims, email me and let's chat. At a minimum, we can help each other through the stress.
    [email protected]

  24. XM

    I took both letters to the local USPI office and I can tell you I was told that the US Postal Inspectors are on this as it is an active case with many letters as evidence. I was also told by the same investigator they have MANY letters at different offices and they're all the same. The blackmailer(s) have made some mistakes and LE is close and to use the words, …"an arrest is imminent" sure made it sound like they're closing in. He said to bring the letters to your nearest US Postal Inspector and not to handle them too much. There are clues and the more they get the better they can build the case. So it is now in Federal hands and the investigator told me that they publish NOTHING until they have made an arrest. I gave him this blog and he already said the lead investigator knew about it. They handled both letters with rubber gloves. I'd suggest if you have the letter(s) take them to the USPI. They'll keep everything 100% confidential and it's your choice once an arrest is made, if you choose not to testify if it goes to trial. This is NOT a hoax, people!

    1. Nick · in reply to XM

      Thanks for the update. If they are, indeed, close to an arrest, our friendly neighborhood blackmailer is about to go to prison for a very long time.

      FYI, §876(d) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code entitled "Mailing Threatening Communications" says:

      "(d) Whoever, with intent to extort from any person any money or other thing of value, knowingly so deposits or causes to be delivered, as aforesaid, any communication, with or without a name or designating mark subscribed thereto, addressed to any other person and containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another, or the reputation of a deceased person, or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. If such a communication is addressed to a United States judge, a Federal law enforcement officer, or an official who is covered by section 1114, the individual shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both."

      Since the crime is the mere act of depositing the extortion demand in the mailbox, and not of actually releasing the embarrassing information or accepting payment, every single letter that was mailed is a separate crime punishable by up to 2 years in prison. The letters to the wives would also be a separate crime, so sending the 2 letters, even though they relate to the same AM user, would be 4 years. If the USPI has 50 letters, this guy will be in jail for 100 years. And if any of his targets happened to be government officials, it is 10 years each. What's even better is that by actually outing people to their wives, those people are no longer hiding anything and will be VERY happy to testify against him.

      To think that this moron decided that risking 2 years (or maybe 10) of his pathetic life was worth it!

      1. Sean · in reply to Nick

        What are the penalties if this is a hoax?

        1. Weezy · in reply to Sean

          There wouldn't be any penalties at all. If you can get enough people to start believing something absolutely stupid… you deserve more of an award. And if you haven't actually mailed anything out and you're just sitting there with a few friends easily perpetrating a hoax like this, on the one blog that covers it, you aren't breaking any laws at all.

          1. sean · in reply to Weezy

            Yea you are probably right. If it is a hoax, hats off to them for getting people to believe it. They sure deserve that award. If something happened as a result of this though like a suicide I wonder if things would be different legally.

        2. bruce · in reply to Sean

          This thread keeps getting better and better! Obviously XM is fabricating this story.
          XM, you are such a liar. No investigator would say 'we are imminently close to making an arrest' to a victim. Your story is a fabrication and the letter is a hoax anyway.
          Why would someone pay postage when email scam is free and easier to cover tracks?

          1. Terry · in reply to bruce

            For those of you who haven't received letters, it's natural to think that this could be a hoax. However, there are some of us here that did receive both of the letters at our homes so I can assure you that someone did physically mail letters out to people, whether they were affiliated with Ashley Madson or not.

            What I can say is that from browsing the two forums about the letters over the past couple of weeks, I believe that XM and Joeblow are the same person due to distinct similarities in the writing styles. Anyone who has looked at these postings for a little while can pick that up, and if law enforcement is investigating this then they really should notice that too. And it may be intentional. I'm not sure if the person that is writing under those aliases is the same person that sent the letters out but I feel they are here to mislead the few people that may still be a little afraid of this whole thing. I believe that most of the people who were posting when this was first put out aren't really afraid any more, including myself, but we are probably still curious as to who would go thru all of this trouble. Which is sad but it looks like someone is getting a kick out of it. My main reason for coming here now is because I'm hoping see a posting or article from Graham saying that the blackmailer has been caught lol. That'll be a happy day for us and a bad day for that person.

            So, whoever that person is I guess they're having their fun. Maybe they'll get caught eventually. But for those of you who are questioning this – it is very real. Real letters were sent out to people's homes and their wives. I know because I received them. I'm not sure why they're not talking about it anywhere else. I just wanted to chime in since you were questioning it.

          2. Sean · in reply to bruce

            I don't know if the thread is getting better and better or stupider and stupider. You decide.

  25. CA Joe

    Not a hoax at all…I received both letters….

  26. JT

    I think I'VE been getting stupider and stupider, that's for sure. I guess I'm a little slow on the uptake, but I did find I odd that XM would post that the blackmailers were about to be arrested. Hmm I wonder if they would be reading this blog – if they existed. I also liked the post from someone that claimed to get a letter from Maryland, and they pointed out that Maryland is next to Virginia, for the reader that couldn't connect the scenario that the blackmailer was traveling around to mail their letters.

    All I know is – either there was never a blackmailer, or there was one and they are about to get caught. All that's left is the scenario that the blackmailers are on the run and we should all be on the lookout for them. Anyone want to pick that one up? Joeblow? XM?

    1. Terry · in reply to JT

      I guess from reading all of the posts from the first one down this forum would seem pretty crazy and silly to someone who wasn't directly affected by this.

      Therefore, let's just stick to the facts for clarification:

      1. A real person did send real letters to men and their wives. I received both letters in the mailbox at my home, along with some other people who have posted here.

      2. There are some posts in both forums that appear to be from someone who may have been affiliated with the physical letters that were sent out. They may be posting under a few different names. They may be the person that sent the letters, or they may be someone just causing confusion for shits and giggles. Or both.

      That's basically what all this is about. You can read the forums and see what you get from it. However, the letters themselves were sent out so this is not a hoax. As far as I know, no one knows for sure who is investigating this and if they have identified someone. My assumption is that if/when they do find who was behind the blackmail letters it will be announced publicly. So it's likely still being looked into. I received the letters so I check here periodically for updates. But when I see people dismissing this as a made up hoax I feel compelled to respond because I know that this has really happened to me and some other people.

  27. Weezy

    There are reasons a lot of people think this is a hoax too. If letters have been sent out since the beginning of November (looking at one uploaded on November 7th right now), then why has nobody else reported on this story? A couple of years ago there were like 4 pizza restaurants that received blackmail letters looking for bitcoin in exchange for them not getting destroyed by yelp reviews – and that made the news on EVERY major news outlet. In this case, you have someone saying they received a letter, and then ten people jumping in and saying they all received the same one (all creating new accounts on the websites they are saying this on that same day) and yet we are to believe that not one person has said something on social media or something about it that hasn't been picked up by other people? If someone received a letter like this and they were NOT actually part of the hack, that would be even BIGGER news and I'd be listening to Robin Meade talk about it on Morning Express. So I'm not sitting here saying that it is 100% not actually happening, I'm just saying that it is pretty easy to dismiss.

  28. XM

    For people who think this is a hoax, that's laughable. Truth is I was scared to death when I got the first one and mortified when I intercepted the second. I came hear after a search and found this blog. Most of us have no idea what to do so I took advice by going to the USPI. The investigator never said they were close to an arrest, what they did say is that the more evidence they had, the better chance they had to build and support a case IF an arrest was imminent. He said there were clues and of course he didn't share what they were but the fact is, the Feds are aware and this is an active investigation. Most people aren't out there broadcasting this to the world. I hope like anyone else they get caught. From what I've been told and read, the best thing to do is give the Feds all of the evidence you can.

  29. sean

    I agree with Weezy's post on this. It is hard to believe and his post explains why. If people are really getting letters I would imagine that it would be a much bigger story by different media outlets rather than just Graham Cluley. So I decided to contact the Postal Inspectors again. According to them there was no information to give me. They went further after I pushed to let me know that they do not have any record of an investigation or any letters that were submitted to them. They also said this was the first time they were hearing about it. So I am not going to tell anyone to believe what I am saying or what the people that claim to have gotten letters are saying. Instead find out for your self and draw your own conclusions. I hope Graham will contact the USPI or the FBI himself to verify the authenticity of this story once and for all.

  30. Judy

    I am a wife who received a letter by mail. I haven't turned my letter over to LE because I simply don't care. If the black mailers are for real then they can expose my husband to anyone they want but they won't get a dime from me.

    1. sean · in reply to Judy

      You got a letter but you don't care? If these Blackmailers did go through with these threats that were mentioned on these letters, you will get affected by them too. Still don't care? It's strange cause you care enough to take the time to post on this blog, not once but 3 times.

  31. Annoyed

    It seems logical that we, our group affected by the Ashley Madison hack, should have trust issues with what we see on the internet. Obviously the only one here that has clearly identified themselves is our host Graham. The rest of us are strangers in the ether.

    I would propose that nothing you read here can be taken as the absolute truth, although it may bery well be. I would suggest that we take what we read here as mere data, and not take it personally, apply weight to that data that you feel is prudent, and act accordingly.

    As for me, I've locked down my social media, I scan my junk mail daily, and make every effort to be the one who brings in the snail mail first. Probably will forever now. Adding to that routine, now I refresh this page several times a day.

    Outside of that, aren't we all pretty powerless?

    In the end each of has to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.

    1. Jt · in reply to Annoyed

      Thanks for sharing. I am doing the exact same as you in terms of minimizing my online exposure and overall risk. The good news is that since the hack days have turned into weeks, and weeks into months. The stolen data will always be out there, but the risks and damage from exposure continue to lessen with time. I hope I am never outed, but it will be much less traumatic if significant time passes first.

      I researched the info about printer identification and it's TRUE! How cool the FBI got that implemented. It only furthers my confidence that any mail-based extortion campaign like this would be short lived.

  32. Printer

    I hope everyone who gets these holds on to the letters, since it looks like its coming from a printer the guy made his biggest mistake. The FBI worked with printer companies long ago and your printer prints its code on every piece of paper you run through it. The EFF reported on this a few years ago, that means since he has to enter a new name, his not doing this at staples, so his printer code is on all of these papers, that means the FBI turns on a light to see them (the dots are yellow) and contacts the printer maker, who lets them know whcih store that printer was shipped to, they check the sales data for that printer and if the person used a way to be tracked, he gets a special visit. So short of this guy having a dry printer cartridge or buying it at a garge sale hes going to be found, well at least I hope the FBI can spare the manpower to actually do it.

  33. redacted stuff

    Where the letter says, "Once you do find it you will see [Redacted] has entries in the database, including on [Redacted]. He signed up under the name "[Redacted]", used this mailing address …"

    What information was redacted just after "Including on _____". The date? The credit card used? The password used? I just want to know what type of information was there.

    Also, the user name mentioned could be one of two different names used. Is it the username you use to log in or the display name of your profile?

    Btw, Ashley Madison has disabled Username search on their site.

  34. Jack

    Just got my 2nd.. Guy not done messing with people's lives.

    Has it gone further for anyone ?

  35. Bill

    When did you get your first one? Wondering how long he waits.

    1. Jack · in reply to Bill

      Solid few weeks between the two

  36. Sue

    Just got my second letter too. I am a single woman. As I said in prior posts on this site, I placed a fake ad on AM to catch my significant other and was devastated when I found him (replying to "me"). That was heartbreaking enough but now I have to deal with blackmail. A lot of my friends (and all of my family – parents, siblings) know about my ordeal of finding my SO on the Ashley site and how I found him. But if the blackmailer googles my name and starts contacting my employer and stuff, that is just weird because I wasn't the cheater but, rather, the victim. FWIW, the first letter was addressed to me (I have a female name obviously) and said how he would be informing everyone I know that I was on the site. The second letter is address to "Mrs. _" (my own last name, but I'm not married) and says my "husband" was on AM (I am single). He doesn't use my ex boyfriend's name as being the cheater on AM. He says he is informing me that X was registered on AM but the "X" is actually my own name. So he (the blackmailer) just stuck a "Mrs." on the last name of X (my name) when he addressed the letter to me complaining about X being on the site, but X is a full female name, first and last (mine). So apparently, I am married to myself and myself cheated on me.Obviously a sloppy, quick mail merge type thing. My friends and family know the hell I went through finding my ex on the site. They are going to be pretty pissed at the blackmailer when they find out the blackmailer is rubbing my nose in the fact that I was cheated on and making me have to relive the whole terrible episode. If that happens, I feel sorry for the blackmailer because trust me there will be a lot of people incentivized to go after the blackmailer after attacking and humiliating a woman who has already been through the ringer. I'm obviously not going to pay any money. Go ahead and tell my family that I cheated on myself on AM. Harassing a heartbroken, cheated on woman is not going to be a good idea for the blackmailer and will draw attention to him. I'm sorry, but do you all not realize that plenty of woman went on the site to catch their husbands by creating fake profiles so they could see who was on there? I have to think there are more out there like me.

  37. TT

    I intercepted the second letter last week. My wife and I have been separated for three years, which is why I flirted with AM, so it wouldn't have been a great shock for her if she'd read the letter, but I am kicking myself for exposing my family to the depredations of this scumbag. As to what anyone else will think of me, I don't care. Blackmailers are a particularly low form of life.

  38. Bmailed

    I just received my first letter on 6/11. I guess that means the Postal Inspector and the FBI are no closer to ending this. This thread has been quiet since April. I was hoping that was a good sign but no such luck.

    1. David · in reply to Bmailed

      Sorry to hear this. Would you be willing to share more information? For example, was it the same letter as above? Where was it postmarked? And were you actually on A.M.? If so, during which years did you use it?

      1. Bmailed · in reply to David

        I received the first letter — the one that the actual AM users received. It had a northern VA postmark. I did use AM for about a year up until the data breach.

    2. tyler durden · in reply to Bmailed

      I received a letter on 6/11 as well. Mine had Baltimore Maryland as a postmark though. I brought my letter to the post office yesterday and they will be sending it to the FBI for further investigation. I also informed them that the blackmailer sends out a second letter, so they said they will be on the look out for it soon as that comes in, so that they can send it out to a forensics lab to test for evidence before it is opened or handled by too many people. I am already separated and personally don't give a crap what people think of me. So sending me a blackmail letter was a waste of postage on his part. I'm hoping my letters will give the FBI what they need to finally bust this low life.

      1. For.The.Blackmailer · in reply to tyler durden

        The blackmailer no doubt gets his jollies from the current pain he inflicts on people and their families, and may even be reading this as part of his fun. Who knows what his motivations are, apart from a little money, if that.

        Victims might get some compensation from imagining the future pain that will be inflicted on the blackmailer by some really, really-pissed-off individuals that he has harmed, quite apart from some piddling federal prison sentence for blackmail. He will be identified eventually.

        1. tyler durden · in reply to For.The.Blackmailer

          Being caught cheating and getting divorced as result isn't exactly the death sentence that the blackmailer wants you to believe. In todays society everyone has a short term memory and quickly forgets about what you may or may have not even done. I know plenty of people who have been caught cheating and they still live perfectly normal lives now. But…. what will feel like a death sentence is if the blackmailer continues to be cocky and keeps sending out these letters he will eventually get caught, and when he is spending multiple years in a pound it in the ass federal prison getting gang raped daily by Bubba and his buddies his pain will be 100 times worse then anything he tried doing to us. I hope it was all worth it Mr Blackmailer, it might be time to move onto a more lucrative life of crime like drug dealing.

          1. For.The.Blackmailer · in reply to tyler durden

            Bubba likely has more-appealing targets. Plus the state of limitations on blackmail isn't very long, five years at the federal level.

            But, Roberto and Boris, whose families received such letters, will have burning grudges until death or beyond.

  39. Najat Almasi

    I received a letter in early June with my name and address threatening to expose me to my family and coworkers.

    I was never a member of the site or any site like it. And I'm a retired 73 year old gay man who has never been married.

    No idea where this idiot found my name and address, but it's clearly a fishing expedition. Whoever is sending those letters is just looking to make a quick buck. There is ZERO chance these criminals are going to contact anyone I know, because even a simple search on my info shows that I'm a terrible target.

    My advice? Have a chuckle at the mentally-deficient rat who sent the letter, and recycle it!

    1. Tyler Durden · in reply to Najat Almasi

      You should recycle your letter into the hands of the FBI or postal inspector

  40. Blackmailedtoo

    I received a letter marked June 22nd, same letters as the others. Has anyone recently received a follow up letter to their spouse?

    1. AnotherBlackmailee · in reply to Blackmailedtoo

      I also received a letter marked 6/22 from NoVa. I'm dreading the arrival of the second letter, but I found out that the USPS has a new program called Informed Delivery where they send you images of your mail (envelope exterior only) in the morning before it goes out for delivery. At least I will know what day to wait for the mail man.

      1. blackmailledtoo · in reply to AnotherBlackmailee

        Does anyone know if the wives have been sent more than one letter?

      2. TGIT · in reply to AnotherBlackmailee

        I received the first and second letters back in March like those above. However, I have not received anything since so maybe the guy is now fishing from from a new list. What is alarming is that this dude hasn't been caught yet. I thought it was over but it looks like he's still after it. I know it'll go away eventually and I'm not worried about it personally but I do hate that this person or persons are still able to mess up people's lives and our authorities haven't been able to use all of the technology they have today today to catch whoever is responsible. Hopefully they'll find the culprit and end this soon for the sake of many families.

        1. Blackmailedtoo · in reply to TGIT

          Thanks for the information! How soon after the first letter did you get the second? I feel like I am watching the mailbox every evening!!

    2. YetAnotherBlackmailee · in reply to Blackmailedtoo

      Wondering, have you received the second letter yet? If so, how far apart were they?
      I received the first myself on June 27.

    3. YetAnotherVictim · in reply to Blackmailedtoo

      I too received a letter marked June 22nd, same form letter. No follow up letter yet received as of 7/27.

      1. Blackmailedtoo · in reply to YetAnotherVictim

        Same here, received one June 22nd nothing since.

    4. YetAnotherVictim · in reply to Blackmailedtoo

      Still no follow up letter as of 8/11.

      1. Blackmailedtoo · in reply to YetAnotherVictim

        When did you receive your first one?

  41. Albert

    Would those of you who are being targeted be willing to share some information about your prior use of the AM site? What years were you on it? Did you use your real name or a pseudonym? Did you use your real credit card or a pre-purchased one? Thanks.

    1. AnotherBlackmailee · in reply to Albert

      I was on the site on and off for a few years leading up to the hack. I usually used burner credit cards with fake names and addresses, but on my last purchase in 2014 I used a rebate debit card that was linked to my real name and address. At that point I was confident that nothing would be sent to my house, and I certainly didn't think they were storing the payment data after the payments went through.

      BTW – Informed Delivery works like a charm, but you have to live in a place where they offer it. I singed up 2 days ago, and I got my first daily email this morning with images of all of my "envelope mail".

    2. Couse · in reply to Albert

      I got a letter from NoVA and I was never on Ashley Madison. This is bullsh**.

  42. Duck

    Still active…first letter received 9/19. Have there been any other new developments?

  43. Fred

    This is a really desperate and dumb move IMO. If a person doesn't pay after getting an initial letter, these folks are just wasting money thinking that a second letter will get a different result. And, once the wife is aware, the cat is out of the bag, and there surely will be no payments made. So sending a letter to the wife is even more dumb.

    Finally, on-line dating is well accepted today. Disclosing somebody's profile to other people isn't as big a deal as these people think it is. Because everybody's on-line dating profile, whether married or single, has some embarrassing aspect to it. Nobody is going to pay much attention. And after a week, it won't even be remembered.

    I wouldn't let these people upset your life.

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