Scammers have been targeting retail stores across the United States with bomb threats, demanding payments in the form of bitcoin and gift cards, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal. Major retail firms, including Kroger, Walmart, and Amazon's Whole Foods Market, have all received these threatening calls in recent months.
The perpetrators behind these bomb threats have contacted store employees, warning them that explosive devices have been planted within their premises. The scammers then proceed to demand payments, threatening to detonate the bombs if their demands are not met. In one instance cited in the report, a Whole Foods Market employee in Chicago received a call stating that a pipe bomb had been placed inside the store and demanded $5,000 in bitcoin.
Law enforcement authorities are currently investigating these bomb threats, but tracking down the callers has proven challenging. The scammers employ blocked phone numbers, making it difficult for authorities to trace their origins. Despite the thorough searches conducted by police following the reports, no suspicious items have been found within the targeted stores.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in collaboration with local and state law enforcement agencies, is actively involved in addressing these threats. The FBI has urged the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the authorities. While it remains uncertain whether these bomb threats are part of an organized effort, individual stores have reported receiving only one threat each. Additionally, some callers have not explicitly demanded payment, further complicating the investigation.
Law enforcement officials emphasize the importance of taking every call seriously and not dismissing any threats. They advise businesses not to comply with the callers' demands and encourage store staff to gather as much information as possible during their conversations with the scammers. This information can aid in identifying and apprehending the culprits behind these malicious acts.
As the investigation continues, authorities are determined to ensure the safety and security of retail stores and their employees. By raising awareness and collaborating with the public, law enforcement agencies aim to bring an end to these threatening scams and hold the responsible individuals accountable for their actions.