People with access to the internet have tremendously gone up in the last decade and so has the creativity of scammers who exploit the innocent.
Latest in their scam arsenal is Sextortion.
What is Sextortion?
Sextortion is when you get an unwelcome email blackmailing you to pay ransom to keep your ‘naughty act’ from going viral.
The good news is that most of these claims are just empty threats.
Sextortion email could look something like this:
“I got hold of your account on the naughty website you frequent (“you know what I mean”) and I was shocked to learn your fantasies. I have never seen anything like this. Well the reason for my email today is to let you know that I caught you in the act. I hacked your phone camera while you were on the website doing the ‘deed’. Well, I believe $XXX is a fair price to delete these from ever existing on the internet. If you don’t send the money to this Bitcoin address within 48 hours of opening this email (we know when you opened this email) – your information will be shared with your loved ones, friends and your social contacts. Be careful next time when you browse the naughty land.”
Check here if your email has been compromised and is more likely to receive a sextortion threat?
Should I pay ransom?
In our opinion, NO.
There is no guarantee that the person claiming to have something on you really has anything, even if they did, there is no guarantee that the demands will stop after you pay once.
BBB actually put out guidelines on when these threats might be pure phishing attempt:
- The scammer does not provide details about what site you supposedly visited.
- The scammer does not offer evidence to prove they have the information they claim.
- The scammer requests an urgent ransom be paid in gift cards, bitcoin or wire transfer.
- Messages include grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and a window of time in which to comply.
Irrespective of whether or not these red flags appear in the sextortion email, it is better for you to not pay.
Tips to stay safe in general
- Change your passwords frequently, use strong passwords
- Have 2FA set up on all accounts where it is available
- Keep the camera on your devices covered
Where to report?
Following are the sources you can use to report if the online assault becomes too unbearable or if you or anyone you know falls victim to these spam.
- FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3): https://www.ic3.gov/
- For specific cases, reach out to the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or report the crime online at tips.fbi.gov
- If you are outside the US, contact your local central agency
Don’t waste your bitcoin on empty threats. Stay safe.
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