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Sextortion passwords scam: What you need to know

  • Written by cybersecurity and online safety expert, Wayne Denner

    While this has been happening for a while, it’s worth highlighting that our friends over at Action Fraud have received over 9,473 reports of this particular email scam in April alone.  The sextortion phishing scam, which was first identified by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) in July 2018, continues to be reported to Action Fraud in high numbers.

    To catch their potential victims attention the emails sent to them contain their own passwords in the Subject line. This initially causes panic.  The scammers then demand a payment in Bitcoin to stop them from sharing videos of them visiting adult websites from their computer or device. In some cases there have been no visits to adult websites, scammers have merely obtained or bought passwords on the dark web or elsewhere but rely on reputational panic setting in. 

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    So what does this email look like?

    They read along these lines:

    “It Seems that, XXXXXX, is your password. I require your complete attention for the upcoming 24 hrs, or I may make sure you that you live out of guilt for the rest of your lifetime.

    Hey, you do not know me personally. However I know all the things concerning you. Your present fb contact list, mobile phone contacts along with all the digital activity in your computer from past 176 days.

    Which includes, your self pleasure video footage, which brings me to the main motive why I’m composing this particular mail to you.

    Well the last time you went to see the porn material websites, my malware ended up being activated inside your computer which ended up documenting a beautiful footage of your self pleasure play by activating your cam (you got a unquestionably weird taste by the way!)

    I have the full recording. If, perhaps you think I am playing around, simply reply proof and I will be forwarding the particular recording randomly to eight people you know.”

    As I’m sure you’ve spotted, poor translation or broken English is a clue that you are being scammed here.

    RELATED: Wayne Denner's 5 CyberScams to watch out for

    What do I do if I receive this sort of email?

    Firstly, do not reply to the email or click on any links contained within it. Instead, report it to: report@phishing.gov.uk Then delete it. 

    Sextortion scams are a type of phishing attack which scammers and fraudsters regularly attempt.  Passwords are used to make this look more convincing.  

    Always keep in mind that data breaches and in particular data which is sold and traded in places like the dark web happens.  Practicing good digital hygiene, eg never using the same password more than once and protecting your personal information are good ways to help keep you and your family safe. 

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    For more information on Action Fraud click here

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