U.S. Retailers Face Bomb Threat Scams for Ransom

U.S. retailers, including Walmart, Kroger, and Whole Foods, are being targeted with bomb threats demanding ransom in the form of Bitcoin or gift cards, causing widespread disruptions.

U.S. Retailers Face Bomb Threat Scams for Ransom
Photo by Marques Thomas / Unsplash

Bomb Threats Plague U.S. Retailers

Numerous U.S. retailers, including Kroger, Walmart, Amazon’s Whole Foods Market, and other companies, are dealing with a series of bomb threats across the country. These threats come with ransom demands in the form of Bitcoin, gift cards, or money, with the threats stating that failure to meet these demands will result in bomb detonations.

Unprecedented Extortion Tactics

Bomb threats linked to ransom demands are a new form of extortion that has been targeting retailers since earlier this year. These instances are seen as an evolution of the conventional scam, with security and industry experts citing the unusual nature of the extortion attempts. Retailers and law enforcement agencies are collaborating to address these threats, which have proven disruptive to regular business operations.

Handling and Reporting Threats

Law enforcement agencies are investigating these threats, despite the difficulty in tracing the callers, who use blocked phone numbers. They encourage businesses to take every call seriously, not to give money, and to try to extract as much information as possible from the callers. In addition, businesses have been urged to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activities.

Bomb Threats and the Retail Industry

The wave of bomb threats demanding ransom began months ago, escalating in the spring, and has added to the mounting safety challenges facing the retail industry. These threats, along with other security issues like theft and shootings, have forced many retailers to modify their operations, including hiring additional security personnel, adjusting store hours, and implementing safety-focused employee teams.

Impact on Individual Retailers

Several retailers, including Whole Foods and Target, have already faced these threats. These incidents have forced closures, evacuations, and extensive investigations into suspicious packages or activities. Some retailers have had to develop internal protocols for handling these threats, emphasizing the importance of reporting such threats and maintaining vigilance in the face of this new type of extortion.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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