Blackmail and Sextortion Emails — What to Watch Out For
Post-pandemic, many people are now working from home, far from their corporate security protocols. Scammers are using this opportunity to trick and threaten victims of their schemes.
One example is the sextortion email scam, where an aspect of sexual content, emphasized by scammers as shameful, persuades you into doing their bidding — e.g., intimidating emails claiming that you have been observed doing something sensitive while watching pornographic videos.
There are also blackmail email scams, in which scammers claim that your corporate, personal or health information has been found leaked in a data breach. The sender threatens to send the pictures, videos or sensitive information to all of your contacts unless you pay them money. These scams are very common and continue to evolve.
What Do They Look Like?
The content of scam emails have had the same pattern for some time, and usually the only thing that changes is the Bitcoin address to which you pay the amount demanded.
Check this sample below:
Unfortunately, there are some bad news for you.
Around several months ago I have obtained access to your devices that you were using to browse internet.
Subsequently, I have proceeded with tracking down internet activities of yours.
Below, is the sequence of past events: In the past, I have bought access from hackers to numerous email accounts (today, that is a very straightforward task that can be done online).
Clearly, I have effortlessly logged in to email account of yours (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A week after that, I have managed to install Trojan virus to Operating Systems of all your devices that are used for email access.
Actually, that was quite simple (because you were clicking the links in inbox emails).
All smart things are quite straightforward. (>_<)
The software of mine allows me to access to all controllers in your devices, such as video camera, microphone and keyboard.
I have managed to download all your personal data, as well as web browsing history and photos to my servers.
I can access all messengers of yours, as well as emails, social networks, contacts list and even chat history.
My virus unceasingly refreshes its signatures (since it is driver-based), and hereby stays invisible for your antivirus.
So, by now you should already understand the reason why I remained unnoticed until this very moment…
While collecting your information, I have found out that you are also a huge fan of websites for adults.
You truly enjoy checking out porn websites and watching dirty videos, while having a lot of kinky fun.
I have recorded several kinky scenes of yours and montaged some videos, where you reach orgasms while passionately masturbating.
If you still doubt my serious intentions, it only takes couple mouse clicks to share your videos with your friends, relatives and even colleagues.
It is also not a problem for me to allow those vids for access of public as well.
I truly believe, you would not want this to occur, understanding how special are the videos you love watching, (you are clearly aware of that) all that stuff can result in a real disaster for you.
Let’s resolve it like this:
All you need is $1350 USD transfer to my account (bitcoin equivalent based on exchange rate during your transfer), and after the transaction is successful, I will proceed to delete all that kinky stuff without delay.
Afterwards, we can pretend that we have never met before. In addition, I assure you that all the harmful software will be deleted from all your devices. Be sure, I keep my promises.
That is quite a fair deal with a low price, bearing in mind that I have spent a lot of effort to go through your profile and traffic for a long period.
If you are unaware how to buy and send bitcoins – it can be easily fixed by searching all related information online.
Below is bitcoin wallet of mine: 1B5ic9iQpyafTEfWxHM4Xq6PkzbickrL8g
You are given not more than 48 hours after you have opened this email (2 days to be precise).
Below is the list of actions that you should not attempt doing:Do not attempt to reply my email (the email in your inbox was created by me together with return address).
Do not attempt to call police or any other security services. Moreover, don’t even think to share this with friends of yours. Once I find that out (make no doubt about it, I can do that effortlessly, bearing in mind that I have full control over all your systems) – the video of yours will become available to public immediately. Do not attempt to search for me – there is completely no point in that. All cryptocurrency transactions remain anonymous at all times.
Do not attempt reinstalling the OS on devices of yours or get rid of them. It is meaningless too, because all your videos are already available at remote servers.
Below is the list of things you don’t need to be concerned about:That I will not receive the money you transferred.– Don’t you worry, I can still track it, after the transaction is successfully completed, because I still monitor all your activities (trojan virus of mine includes a remote-control option, just like TeamViewer).That I still will make your videos available to public after your money transfer is complete.– Believe me, it is meaningless for me to keep on making your life complicated. If I indeed wanted to make it happen, it would happen long time ago!
Everything will be carried out based on fairness!
Before I forget…moving forward try not to get involved in this kind of situations anymore!
An advice from me – regularly change all the passwords to your accounts.
What Should I Do if I Receive These Emails?
- First thing to remember: DO NOT PAY THE RANSOM! And more importantly, DO NOT REPLY, because sometimes a scammer will escalate if you reply. If they really had a video or picture of you they will at least show some proof like screenshot. If they allege that they have your corporate, personal or health information they would have shown a sample of it as well.
- Don’t open any attachments. Don’t take the chance, it might contain real malware.
- Just in case they show you a password of yours, double check if it is an old password. Scammers buy dumps of old email accounts and passwords on the darknet that were affected in data leak before. See if your email address has been compromised on the darknet.
- If they show you a password that you are currently using, change it. Never use that password again and it is recommended to use Two-Factor Authentication. Check out The Best Authenticator Apps for 2021.
- Sometimes the email will appear to be sent from your own email address as a “proof” that they have hacked your computer and your email account but this is only a trick called email spoofing. When your email address is spoofed, you can ask your ISP for help in filtering out emails that fail authentication.
- You can report such emails to the FBI at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
Why Do Blackmail & Sextortion Emails Work?
It is because of fear. People assume they will never be a victim but in reality, we are very prone to phishing attacks. Well-made explanations by a scammer will likely make the scam more credible too. The fear will do the rest. With the addition of shame, people can make irrational decisions in response.
It is scary — but remember that these scam emails are designed to inject fear. If they really have what they are claiming they have, they will provide an accurate sample to you. Be safe out there!
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