Florida Schools Receive Threatening Extortion Email

Florida Schools Receive Threatening Extortion Email

Last Tuesday, college and university presidents across Florida received a 1,250-word extortion email threatening violence.

Last Tuesday, college and university presidents across Florida received a 1,250-word extortion email threatening violence. The email promised a deluge of false bombing and mass shooting threats unless the sender received a payment of 1.2 Bitcoin – about $18,000 at the current rate – by noon Wednesday.

The sender wrote that the repeated false threats of violence would disrupt campuses, and they would follow through with one of them at random.

"One of these threats will be legitimate. Which one will be a surprise," the email read. "You will be forced to evacuate the campus."

The email is written without referencing a specific campus. It’s not clear how many campuses received it, but it was sent to a wide variety, including Hillsborough Community College, the University of Florida and University of West Florida.

UF and other recipients alerted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

"After they conferred, they basically determined that this is a scam," UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said. "It does allow us to use it as a reminder that if people see something, they should say something."

Betsy Bowers, interim vice president of UWF's finance and administration department said student safety is her campus’s top priority.

"We have protocols in place that our faculty and staff are trained to do,” Bowers said. “Sheltering in place to make sure nobody is going across campus or giving access to people that could be of suspicion that would threaten or harm anyone on our campus space."

The FBI and other authorities continue to investigate the incident.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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