Blackmail scam targets Bay Area restaurants, threatens their reputations

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Restaurants are facing a new challenge in the bay area: blackmail.

In the last week, nearly a dozen restaurants have received letters threatening their reputation unless the restaurants pay up.

The restaurant business is competitive, especially in San Francisco. But now, there are new worries for them–blackmail

Pete Sittnick with Waterbar says his restaurant was one of at least 10 to receive an email, or one similar saying, “I was hired by your competitor to write a negative press release about your restaurant using awful photos of the food containing hair and insects. The press release will be published on 500 major news and media portals and will destroy the reputation of your restaurant.”

The email goes on to say, “I’ll refuse to fulfill this order if you compensate me.”

Sittnick knew immediately it was a scam and contacted the Golden Gate Restaurant Association 

The restaurant association says so far, they have heard from 15 restaurants that have received similar emails and they have now contacted the district attorney’s office and the FTC.

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