The RCMP is telling Canadians not to comply with threatening emails demanding Bitcoin after a wave of bomb threats were received across Canada and the U.S.
The RCMP said in a statement Thursday evening that it is aware of threats sent via email in which the sender threatens to detonate a bomb if the cryptocurrency ransom is not paid.
“If you have been the recipient of one of these email threats, do not respond to the Bitcoin demand,” the police force said on Twitter.
“Exercise caution, remain alert and immediately contact your local police.”
Threats were reported in many cities across Canada, including Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Penticton, Vernon, Toronto, Kamloops and Winnipeg. Several other police services have warned members of the public not to provide payments.
The RCMP has not commented on whether it considers the threats to be credible.
In Toronto, police reported that there was a threat at King subway station, and it had been evacuated. The station has since been cleared.
Calgary Police said that based on the information available, they have determined threats received by city residents are a hoax.
In Penticton, Vernon and Kamloops, RCMP said bomb threats were sent to car dealerships. Police said they believe the threats are unsubstantiated.
In Ottawa, an official with the Parliamentary Protective Service told Global News they are constantly monitoring “threats domestically and abroad,” but could not comment on specifics when asked whether any threats have been received.
“Parliamentary Protective Service continuously monitors threats domestically and abroad, and we adjust our security posture on Parliament Hill and within the Parliamentary Precinct accordingly,” a statement read.
Canada to bring home over US$10M from FIFA after World Cup performance
What are ‘Buy Nothing’ groups? Experts say trend can help Canadians handle inflation
Threats in the U.S.
South of the border, many law enforcement agencies dismissed the threats, saying they were meant to cause disruption and compel recipients into sending money and were not considered credible.
Some of the emails had the subject line: “Think Twice.” They were sent from a spoofed email address. The sender claimed to have had an associate plant a small bomb in the recipient’s building and that the only way to stop him from setting it off was by making an online payment of $20,000 in Bitcoin.
“We are currently monitoring multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city,” the New York City Police Department’s counterterrorism unit tweeted. “These threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide & are NOT considered credible at this time.”
WATCH: Charlotte, N.C., one of several North American cities to receive bomb threats
WATCH: TV station in Maryland evacuated after bomb threats
The FBI said it is assisting law enforcement agencies that are dealing with the threats.
“As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety,” the FBI said in a statement.
WATCH: Police in San Francisco investigating series of bomb threats
The threats targeted areas in San Francisco, Penn State University, the University of Washington, among several local businesses. Some schools closed early and others were evacuated or placed on lockdown.
The bomb threats also prompted evacuations at city hall in Aurora, Illinois, the offices of the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina and a suburban Atlanta courthouse.
— With files from Reuters and the Associated Press