Ontario police warn of scammers lying about planting explosives in businesses
Ontario Provincial Police officer Sgt. Kerry Schmidt has issued a warning to the public about a scam targeting businesses across the province.
In a video posted to Twitter this week, Schmidt said he's heard numerous reports of businesses throughout Ontario receiving threatening emails stating that an explosive device has been planted on their property.
"Earlier today, businesses across the province began receiving emails that there was an explosive device planted somewhere on their property," Schmidt says in the video.
"And in order for that to be removed, they would need to make payment via Bitcoin to the author of this email through a special account."
Threatening emails sent to businesses claiming that an explosive device has been planted on their property appears to be frivolous in nature.— Ontario Provincial Police (@OPP_News) August 26, 2020
There does not appear to be a threat to public safety. #ScamAlert pic.twitter.com/qOTFmWZ1Pk
Schmidt said he's since spoken to officers as well as the OPP's explosive disposal unit coordinator, all of whom told him that these kinds of complaints all appear to be frivolous in nature.
"There have been no explosive devices located anywhere on anyone's property," he clarified. "Officers have come and attended to these locations and assisted the business owners with a safety plan and making sure there was nothing suspicious on their property."
In other words, these emails appear to be merely an attempt to extort business owners for money.
Schmidt said officers and support members are ready to respond in case of a critical incident, but at this point, the claims of explosive devices planted on these buildings do not appear to be credible.
"There does not appear to be any threat to public safety," Schmidt says in the video. "We are continuing to monitor, and we'll update you if any more information does become available."
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