Ashley Madison
A photo illustration shows the Ashley Madison website displayed on a smartphone in Toronto, August 20, 2015. Reuters/Mark Blinch

Some South Australians registered on Ashley Madison, a website that promoted adultery, have been receiving emails from scammers threatening to expose their information. According to the emails, to be spared from the exposure, the user needs to pay a certain amount of money in bitcoin digital currency.

Ashley Madison threats are just one of the most common ways that scammers use to extort money from the registered users of the site. Since the data of Ashley Madison users have been released to the public by hackers in August, scammers have been sending out threat mails. The police said it has received more than a dozen reports of the emails since the incident.

According to The Australian, SA Senior Sergeant Barry Blundell said on Tuesday that the reports received by the police last week were just the “tip of the iceberg,” as there is a huge possibility that people just delete the emails upon receiving them without informing the authorities.

The threats include releasing details of a person’s “secret fantasies, pictures and conversations.” Other threats involve contacting the user's family members and friends using a supposedly unsecured password.

According to Blundell, the situation is causing concerns as victims tend to lose their savings and retirement funds over the scam.

The police has also stated that the Australian Tax Office, or ATO, has been dragged in some of the scams, according to ABC. Some scammers introduce themselves as employees of ATO and claim that an arrest warrant will be issued if payments of outstanding ATO bills will not be immediately made. The ATO scam has cost people as much as AU$160,000.

In another case, a 70-year-old woman paid nearly AU$500,000 through the “Reclaim Department Australia.” Once the final payment for “application charges” were made, she was told that she could be entitled to an amount of money. It was said that the only way to get back the lost money was through identifying people involved in the scam, which, according to Blundell, is unlikely to happen.

Blundell, however, noted that banks are helpful in arresting scammers. Police reports have been made, which prompted arrests for the past two months.

The police encourages the public to be vigilant and to recognise when an email, a letter or a caller is not legitimate. Awareness of the fraudsters’ tactics is also vital so as not to fall victim to the operation.

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