At least two people may have committed suicide following the hacking of the Ashley Madison adultery website, Toronto police said on Monday.
Toronto Police Acting Staff Superintendent Bryce Evans said that cops had received two unconfirmed reports of suicides on Monday morning. In addition to the two possible suicides, the hack – which exposed the accounts of up to 37 million users – has led to extortion attempts, Evans said.
Canada-based Avid Life Media owns Ashley Madison. The company is offering a reward equivalent to $379,000 to catch the hackers.
This hack is one of the largest data breaches in the world,” Evans said, according to the AP. “This is affecting all of us. The social impact behind this leak, we’re talking about families, we’re talking about children, we’re talking about wives, their male partners.”
It’s unclear if the reported suicide of a police captain from San Antonio, Texas, a 25-year department veteran who died Thursday of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, was counted among the two noted by Toronto police.
A San Antonio city email address belonging to a captain was among those used to create an account on the site. City officials said they “cannot confirm whether these addresses were legitimately used to access the site,” according to the San Antonio Express-News, and they don’t know if his death was related to the release of Ashley Madison profile data, which came in batches starting July 19.
“We mourn his tragic death last week, do not know the reasons for his apparent suicide, and decline to speculate about the reasons,” San Antonio Police Chief Anthony Trevino said in a statement to PEOPLE.
Among those already ensnared in the Ashley Madison hack fallout are reality TV star Josh Duggar; YouTube star Sam Rader; Josh Taekman, the husband of Real Housewives of New York star Kristen Taekman; Louisiana GOP executive director Jason Doré and Jeff Ashton, the prosecutor who tried the Casey Anthony case.
In addition to a $576 million class action already filed in Canada against Ashley Madison and its owner, Avid Life Media, the companies are now also being sued in a U.S. federal court by a man seeking class-action status for victims of the breach. The suit, which was filed in a California district court and which does not list a damage request, accuses the Toronto-based company of negligence, invasion of privacy and causing emotional distress.
Avid Life Media could not be reached immediately for comment regarding the suit.
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