According to this email, the sender has infected your computer with malware and was thus able to record video of you when you visited a porn website. The sender also claims to have downloaded your contact list.
The email warns that the video showing you “touching your intimate parts” will be sent to all of your contacts unless you pay $610 in Bitcoin within 24 hours. It further claims that nobody will be able to locate the blackmailer so telling the police will not help you.
Supposedly, if you do pay up, the sender will delete the compromising evidence.
However, the email is just a bluff designed to trick you into sending money to online criminals. The sender does not really have a compromising video of you.
These scammers randomly distribute thousands of identical emails in the hope of netting at least a few recipients who will believe their story and pay up. Even if just a handful of people who receive the scam emails actually send money, the criminals will make a good profit.
Of course, criminals can and do trick people into installing malware. And, this malware could harvest information from the infected computer and send it back to the criminals. Some malware may even be able to activate a computer’s built-in video camera without the user realizing.
But this email does not describe a real malware attack. The sender has not really installed malware and does not have any direct contact with you other than via the generic email that you received. The very same email that many thousands of other potential victims have also received.
Instead, the email is just a low-tech ruse that the senders hope will panic some recipients who believe the false claims into paying up. The version discussed here is just one in a series of very similar fake blackmail scam emails.
After all, if criminals had really recorded a compromising video and wanted to blackmail you into sending money, they would almost certainly send a copy of the video itself as a means of proving their claims. At the very least, they would include some of the contacts they supposedly harvested as proof. These fake blackmail scam emails do not provide any meaningful evidence to support their claims. Of course, blackmailers who really had recorded you on a porn site would have ample evidence to prove the veracity of their claims. And they would include this proof in their demand emails. They would not bother sending you idle threats without supplying any evidence. That would be pointless.
If you receive one of these scam emails, don’t reply. Just hit the “delete” key.
NOTE: 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 a porn website may believe that the scammer has infiltrated their computer. As I discuss in more detail in a separate report, the scammers 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:
I give you 24 h after clicking on my message for making the payment. It is not necessary to tell me that you have paid. This bitcoin wallet is given only to you, my system will delete everything automatically after transfer verification. If you need 48 hours only reply on this letter with +.
Bye. Dont forget about the shame.