Local tech company offers advice on phishing scams
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Police don’t think the international wave of bomb threats phoned or emailed to government offices and other venues this week are credible. And a tech company in Grand Rapids has already helped several people avoid becoming victims to similar phishing scams.
FOX 17’s Michael Dupre spoke with Christopher Boden, who works at the National Science Institute in G.R. He says the latest hoax is a new twist on an old con, this time demanding $20,000 in Bit Coin. He says Bit Coin is harder to trace.
“You can send a thousand dollars in Bitcoin anywhere in the world in seconds and it costs 50 cents,” says Boden. “This is a higher-tech version of the same people calling your grandparents saying, if you don’t do this right now…it’s that same kind of hustle.”
The threats referencing explosive devices prompted evacuations and building sweeps in the United States, Canada and other countries. Police were investigating to see if a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday was connected to the other threats nationwide. It was the six-year anniversary of when a gunman fatally shot 26 people in the school, and then turned the gun on himself.
A district court in Detroit, police headquarters in various cities, hospitals and some schools received threats Thursday and Friday. Authorities say it’s unclear if all of the threats are connected, but the FBI and ATF are investigating.
Says Boden, “The best thing to do on this if you do get one of these emails is to report it to one of your local FBI field offices. What you don’t do is don’t respond to them. And don’t send them the money. We get people who come in here and their computers have gotten ransomed and stuff like that. If you pay the money it’s not going to fix it. It’s not going to get any better they are not going to give you your data, you’re just never going to hear from them again…If you’re getting hustled if you’re getting ransomed I’m not going to contribute to that and I don’t want to see you get screwed out of your money.”
FOX 17’s Michael Dupre contributed to this story.