This email claims that the sender has used a “private computer worm” to create a video of you “caressing your body” while you visited a porn website.
Supposedly, the sender not only activated your webcam to record the compromising video but also made a copy of your contact list. The sender threatens to post the compromising video to all of your contacts if you do not pay $440 in bitcoin.
However, the sender has not really recorded video of you or stolen your contact list. The email is just a bluff designed to panic you into sending money to online criminals.
If criminals really had infected your system with malware, harvested your personal information, and recorded video as claimed, then they would have all of these details and plenty more. And, they would almost certainly use at least some of this information to convince you that their threats were real.
This is just one version of many similar sextortion scam emails that have been hitting inboxes in recent months.
The scammers send out thousands of identical emails in the hope of netting at least a few victims. Even if only a tiny percentage of recipients fall for the trick and pay up, the scammers will make a profit.
It should be noted that it is possible to use malware to steal information from your computer and even activate the device’s camera. This adds a measure of plausibility to the scam emails that may help convince some victims to pay up.
But, with these fake blackmail scam messages, the criminals have not installed malware on your computer and have not created a video of you. To reiterate, they are just randomly distributing the same email to very large numbers of people and banking on the mathematical probability that at least a few people will be panicked enough to pay.
If you receive one of these emails, do not respond to it. Just hit the delete key.
Some Versions Include Passwords
Some versions of these scam emails increase 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. 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.
An example of the scam email:
Use this wallet address – [Removed]Think better: become popular or pay little bit to safe your social status.
Cops cant help. We write you through our botnet, also I do not live in your country. You cant find my ip in a header of this message.
For some questions just reply.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!