This scam is particularly frightening for people who visit, er, certain websites.
Many email scams appear to target senior citizens but one scam that’s currently making the rounds again is having success duping younger adults out of their money.
The sextortion email appears to have been sent from the victim’s email account. For instance, if your email address is “firstname.lastname@example.org”, the scam email appears to have been sent from that address. The email might also mention a familiar password or phone number with the intent of convincing the victim that their accounts have been successfully hacked.
Even savvy internet users fall for this scam.
The email then says a hacker has accessed your webcam and screen and recorded you when you were visiting an adult porn site. It claims it will send the video to your contacts list, family, co-workers, and Facebook friends if you do not pay a ransom, usually an amount between $300-$1,000.
The scammer also tells the victim that since they’ve hacked into their email accounts, they know when the email is opened and the victim has only 48 hours to send a payment to a bitcoin wallet. Frequent visitors to adult porn sites are terrified and rather than risk reporting it to the police, they will pay the ransom to keep the supposed video clips to be sent out.
Victims may receive a second email saying it is their final warning before the videos are sent and posted to Facebook.
While the email might look legitimate to some, it is a scam. The bad guys can easily spoof email addresses with free online programs and passwords and phone numbers may have been compromised in previous data leaks.
Still, it is successful which is why it makes rounds every few months.
The latest version of the scam is sending emails to people at work using their work email address. Victims then feel more pressure to pay the ransom without reporting it to their co-workers or IT specialist. If you receive one of these emails, don’t panic. It is a scam. Do not click on anything just delete the email and if you haven’t changed your password in some time, this is a good reminder.