Panera Bread, Porn, & Bitcoin At Center of Alleged Scandal Involving 86-Year-Old Woman

Let’s face it, there aren’t many instances where you can imagine a story entailing Bitcoin, porn, and Panera Bread, but that’s exactly the case with an 86-year-old Chicago woman.

The tech-savvy elderly woman was able to connect the dots as to how a Bitcoin extortionist was able to find her through a data leak stemming from a Panera Bread rewards account she signed up for to receive a free bagel on her birthday.

Birthday Bagel Turns into Bitcoin Extortion Scam and Porn-Related Threats

While its certainly a stereotype and outliers exist – just like the 86-year-old woman at the center of this story – most elderly aren’t exactly the most tech-savvy of internet users. There are communities dedicated to this common stereotype such as “Old People Facebook” on Reddit.

However, Arlene Kaganove from Chicago doesn’t fall victim to such stereotypes and because of it, she also didn’t fall victim to a Bitcoin extortion scandal.

Related Reading | Bitcoin Extortionists Turn From Blackmail to Bomb Threats 

The 86-year-old woman was shocked to find threatening emails sent to her accusing her of watching porn, which she says is “hilarious.” “They told me I have very good taste in porn so I thought that was nice,” Kaganove said, showing how lighthearted she looked at what could otherwise have been a scary situation.

The extortionists were demanding $1,400 in Bitcoin, but the woman has two masters degrees in chemistry and law, and despite saying the hackers would only see “a little old lady cursing at the computer,” she is far savvier than the cybercriminals took her for.

Kaganove kept detailed notes about what password she used to sign up for what. She claims to sign up for many free programs, including one from Panera Bread to receive birthday rewards. But because she did keep notes, she realized that the crypto-seeking criminals were allegedly related to Panera Bread, which suffered a massive data breach back in April 2018 that saw millions of customer’s data leaked.

Panera denies the allegations in a statement, saying that no “MyPanera Rewards account passwords were exposed during the April 2018 incident,” and that “Arlene’s account was not accessed improperly.”

Related Reading | Crypto and Bitcoin Ransom: A Rapidly Growing Trend

Whatever transpired, Arlene was able to realize the threat was nothing more than a scam and called the police. She doesn’t want others to fall victim to the scam.

“If they are sending six [letters] to me, they are sending a lot more to people,” she said. “I am sure someone is sending them money.”

Six months ago, this NewsBTC journalist also received a similar threat, with similar claims as the one Arlene received. The scam is widespread and is reaching everyone from tech-savvy crypto journalists to innocent old ladies seeking a free bagel. The one common thread amongst these is that the scammers have zero proof of the threats they are making, and hoping to scare people into sending funds.

If this happens to you, contact your local authorities.

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