Everyone loves pizza. Even e-criminals. A group of anonymous extortionists have targeted small, local pizza joints, threatening to post bad reviews on Yelp, file Better Business Bureau complaints, and even report fake violent crimes and drug activity on the premises. But they have given the pizza owners a chance to avoid this fate. The pizza owners have to hand over exactly one Bitcoin.
Several pizza parlors, like 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria in New Hampshire, have reportedly received these letters in recent days:
The local pizza joint owner posted the picture on the company's Facebook, captioning it: "This is a new one on me, you guys. Ps. What the heck is a BitCoin??" GRPD Pizza and Delivery in Michigan received the same letter, as did Pizza Pirates in California. One Bitcoin is about $600, but if they don't pay by August 15, the amount goes up to 3 Bitcoin.
These criminals might be creative, but they may not have thought this one through. The letters were sent through the U.S. Postal Service, and it looks like they went out to pizza places all around the country. This means they can be charged with federal crimes and government can use their resources to track the extortionists through the USPS system.
This isn't the first time e-criminals have tried to use pizza for evil. Earlier this month, a hacker tried to hold the toppings preferences of Domino's customers in Europe for ransom.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.