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Fake CIA emails requesting Bitcoin payment or arrest

Priority Level: 
20 March 2019

What’s happened?

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of malicious emails claiming to be from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) being received by Australians.

The emails state that the recipient’s personal details, addresses, contact information and information relating to their relatives are contained in a case file about the distribution and storage of pornographic electronic materials involving underage children.

The emails advise that arrests are scheduled and that a payment of $10,000 USD in Bitcoin will prevent further action or contact.

Does it affect me?

These emails have been sent to members of the public in Australia as well as people overseas.    

How do I stay safe?

If you receive one of these scam emails:

  • Do not respond or try to contact the sender.
  • Do not make any payments to the sender.
  • Delete the email.

More information

Read more on threat-based impersonation scams – including what to do if you have been scammed.

Find out where to get help if you believe you have become a victim of a scam.