Police are investigating reports of suicide among people whose email addresses were outed in the Ashley Madison cheating website hack in August 2015. The website never verified emails, which means anyone can sign up with a fake email.
Police Investigate Suicides After Ashley Madison Hack
Police in the United States and Canada are investigating two suicides suspected to be linked to the Ashley Madison hack, according to Reuters.
It is not clear if they included a San Antonio Police Captain who died from what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound on August 20, Fox29 reports. His email was one of three addresses ending in @sanantonio.gov that were included in the hack.
AshleyMadison.com did not verify email addresses, which means anyone can sign up with a fake email. Barack Obama and Tony Blair are among the fake names and email addresses that have been exposed.
Security analyst Brian Krebs, an expert who first reported the hack, told The Guardian:
“There’s a very real chance that people are going to overreact. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw people taking their lives because of this.”
Ashley Madison Suicide Lawsuits
The hack of AshleyMadison.com has led to extortion crimes and reports of suicide. Lawsuits involving wrongful death from suicide typically seek compensation for the mental anguish of the decedent and the decedent’s survivors, loss of companionship, funeral costs, punitive damages, and more.
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Talking about wanting to die or commit suicide
- Searching online for how to commit suicide or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, worthless
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting agitated, anxious, behaving recklessly, or extreme mood swings
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Withdrawing from friends and family members
- Stopping activities that were once enjoyable
- And more
Hackers Expose Details on 37 Million Accounts
In August 2015, hackers exposed details of 37 million accounts on the infidelity website. The cache includes personal details, email addresses, names, and addresses linked to credit card transactions.
The hack could have wide-ranging consequences, even for people who never used the website to have an affair — especially if hackers can use the data for blackmail or extortion.
About 15,000 emails linked to government and military addresses were exposed, according to Wired. The Defense Department prohibits using military emails or computers to access pornography. Adultery is also punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), according to Military.com.