Newberg among the cities targeted in bomb scam
Newberg was one of several locations across the United States that fell victim to a Dec. 13 scam attempt threatening businesses and schools for money.
The scam, replicated in states from Oregon and California to Maine to Florida, involves businesses or schools receiving an email stating there was an explosive device in the building and demanding payment to a Bitcoin address or else the device would detonate.
Officer Brian Hagan, public information officer for the Newberg-Dundee Police Department, said one Newberg business received a threatening email Dec. 13, although like all others across the country, it was not considered credible.
"The threat was in the form of an email and identical to the emails being reported nationwide," Hagan said. "It was to a local business with no obvious reason to have been targeted. There were no other factors to indicate the threat was real."
Neighboring McMinnville was also victim to the scam attempt. McMinnville Police Department Capt. Rhonda Jaasko in a news release said "numerous local area businesses and schools started receiving emails of a threatening nature with a demand for payment to a Bitcoin address. These emails have been received not only McMinnville, but across the region."
In McMinnville, the email stated the device had been placed inside the building of the business or school, and demanded money. The emails warned against calling the police or evacuating the building, saying there would be a "recruited person" watching the building for these.
"It appears that the author is not a native English speaker, which is seen a lot in mass scams" Jaasko said. "These emails are a scam and fraud attempt."
"Online fraudsters are relentless right now and many of them are originating overseas," Hagan said.
The threats occurred all across the country and Canada, in business and schools, as well as hospitals and other locations. Most threats were emailed in, although a few were called in.
In a statement Dec. 13, the FBI said they were aware of the threats and remained in touch with law enforcement agencies around the country.
"As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety," the statement read.
New York City reported multiple threats as well, according to the city's counterterrorism bureau.
"These threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide and are not considered credible at this time," the NYPD said on Twitter.
A false bomb threat was also made at the Columbine High School in Colorado, the same school where in 1999 two students killed 13 others in what was then the deadliest school shooting in United States history.