This email claims that the sender has recorded a video of you “doing dirty things” while visiting an adult website.
The sender threatens to send the compromising video to your friends, relatives, and coworkers if you do not pay a “privacy fee” via Bitcoin.
Supposedly, the sender used malware to activate your webcam and record your activities while you were watching videos on the adult website. And, claims the message, the malware also collected all of your email and social network contacts.
The sender gives you two options. Either ignore the email in which case the video will be sent to all of the contacts collected by the malware. Or pay the requested fee in which case the sender promises to destroy the video.
In an effort to prove that the threat is real, the sender has included one of your passwords in the message.
However, at least in this case, the claims in the email are simply a bluff designed to panic you into paying up. The sender has not really made a video of you and he or she has not really collected all of your contacts.
In fact, the email is just one version of a common scam tactic in which online criminals randomly distribute thousands of identical messages in the hope of tricking a few people into paying up.
People who have recently spent time on a porn website may go ahead and pay the fee as instructed rather than risk the shame of being exposed to their friends and family.
After all, criminals do indeed use malware to steal information from infected computers and they can sometimes even activate the device’s camera without the user knowing. Thus, the scenario outlined in these scam emails is plausible. This plausibility can make the threats seem more credible.
Moreover, the latest crop of these scam emails increases the chance that the claims will be taken seriously because they include a valid password associated with one of the recipient’s accounts. Because of the included password, even people who have not been to an adult website may believe that the scammer has infiltrated their computer.
So, how are the scammers getting these passwords? As I discuss in more detail in a separate report, it appears that they are collecting the passwords and the associated email addresses from old data breaches. Many commentators have pointed out that the passwords in the emails are very old and no longer being used.
These fake blackmail sextortion scam emails take many forms. If you receive one, just hit the delete button. Do not respond to the scammer in any way.
However, if you are currently using the password that the scammer has sent for any of your online accounts, you should change it immediately. If you want to check if an account has been compromised in a data breach, you can enter the associated email address into Troy Hunt’s excellent “have i been pwned” service.
An example of the scam email:
This is your bad luck. I’m aware (removed) is your password. More to the point, I do know about your secret and I have evidence of your secret. You don’t know me and nobody employed me to investigate you.It is just your bad luck that I found your blunder. Let me tell you, I actually installed a malware on the adult vids (porno) and you visited this website to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching videos, your internet browser started functioning as a RDP (Remote desktop) having a keylogger which provided me with access to your display screen as well as web cam.
After that, my software program gathered all of your contacts from your social networks, and e-mail.
After that I put in much more hours than I should’ve looking into your life and created a two view video. First part displays the recording you were watching and other part displays the view of your web camera (its you doing dirty things).
Frankly, I’m ready to forget about you and let you continue with your life. And my goal is to provide you 2 options that may accomplish this. The above options are to either ignore this letter, or simply just pay me $2750. Let’s examine those 2 options in more detail.
Option 1 is to ignore this e mail. You should know what will happen if you choose this option. I will send out your video recording to your contacts including relatives, co-workers, and so on. It does not shield you from the humiliation your self will ought to face when friends and family discover your dirty videos from me.
Second Option is to pay me $2750. We will name this my “privacy fee”. Here is what will happen if you opt this option. Your secret remains your secret. I’ll destroy the video immediately. You go on with your routine life as if nothing ever occurred.
At this point you must be thinking, “I should call the cops”. Let me tell you, I’ve covered my steps to ensure this e-mail cannot be traced back to me and it won’t stop the evidence from destroying your daily life. I’m not seeking to steal all your savings. I am just looking to be compensated for efforts and time I place into investigating you. Let’s hope you decide to generate all of this disappear completely and pay me my confidentiality fee. You will make the payment via Bitcoins (if you do not know this, type “how to buy bitcoins” in google search)
Amount to be paid: $2750
Bitcoin Address to Send:(removed) (Edit * from it then copy and paste it carefully)
Expalin nobody what you will be sending the bitcoin for or they will often not give it to you. The procedure to acquire bitcoin usually takes a few days so do not wait.
I have a special pixel within this e-mail, and now I know that you’ve read this mail. You now have two days in order to make the payment. If I do not get the Bitcoins, I will definately send your video to all of your contacts including relatives, colleagues, and so on. You better come up with an excuse for friends and family before they find out. Having said that, if I do get paid, I’ll destroy the proof and all other proofs immediately.
It’s a non negotiable offer, thus please do not ruin my personal time and yours. Your time has started. Let me remind you, my tracker will still be recording the actions you are taking when you find yourself done reading this email. To be honest, If you try to act smart then I’ll send your videotape to your members of your family, co-workers even before your time finishes.