Certain things in life are guaranteed: Taxes, Death and unfortunately Crime, as a woman in Youngsville, North Carolina was soon to find out. The Howell family’s beloved Basset Hound Happy went missing last week but that was only the beginning, of the nightmare that was about to unfold.
Not long after they posted about their missing dog with contact details on both Facebook and Pawboost, the family received a call that no one wants to get, a kidnapper demanding $600 to be paid via Bitcoin, threatening to either kill or sell the poor dog if the demands weren’t met…luckily this story has a happy ending but not for the would-be kidnapper, Happy had already returned home by the time the call had been made.
The Howell family reported the incident to Granville County Sheriff’s Office, who stated that “this was the first time they had dealt with such a case, but that they had heard of similar instances in other areas of the country.” The criminal reportedly called from a ‘burner phone’ making tracking of the would-be kidnapper extremely difficult. The Howell family stated criminals “need to find a better way to make money. They need to leave people alone and realize that what they’re doing is hurtful and so cruel”.
The criminal who had obviously seen her social media post, tried to take advantage of a clearly sensitive situation and unfortunately with the accessibility that Bitcoin offers, this type of scam have become more prevalent.
Ransomware attacks on computers have been around for decades now, with some attacks costing the victim their life savings, are slowly being converted from demanding fiat payment, via the well know Western Union method, to crypto transactions. The victims of these attacks are told that if they do not pay a ransom fee within an allotted timeframe, their personal files will either be deleted or shared publically online, which can be both humiliating and potentially life ruining. As like in the case of Matt from Victoria, Australia in 2016, who was demanded to pay a ransom of $10,000 after a hacker filmed him through his webcam having an intimate moment with himself, while watching adult videos online.
Last week, 12 year old Katlego Marite was kidnapped in Mpumalanga on Sunday in broad daylight. He was taken by three men while he played with friends, leaving only a note demanding a ransom of $120,000 to be made in Bitcoin. Katlego returned home on Thursday after being dropped off at Kromdraai, an area not far from his home in Witbank. It is unclear whether the ransom had been paid, as of yet no arrests have been made
In late December 2017, a Ukrainian group held Pavel Lerner, an executive of ‘EXMO’ a UK-based cryptocurrency exchange hostage and demanded a ransom of $1 million to be paid in Bitcoin or he would lose his life. After 3 long days, the ransom was paid and Pavel was released, it is not sure who paid the ransom but Police are still looking into the matter.
At AltcoinBuzz, we are glad to know all these people (and their dogs) are back safe and sound with their families and as the old saying goes; crime doesn’t pay! Eventually all these criminals will be caught, justice will be served and we can all sleep a little easier knowing the only thing they’ll be hodling onto tightly, is the soap.