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Sextortion by Email

[UPDATED BELOW 8-7-18] During the Summer of 2018, several men have sent us a series of emails they received from random and unknown email addresses.  Each email claims to have installed malware onto the victim’s computer and is monitoring and recording what the victim is doing.  Each email claims to have recorded the victim in sexual activity and threatens to expose (no pun intended) the victims actions on the Internet and to friends/family UNLESS the victim pays money in bitcoins to the extortionist.  Each of the men who sent us the emails below told us that he wasn’t worried and knew it was a scam because he hadn’t visited any adult-content websites! Also, one man received two of these emails just hours apart, from different email addresses and asking for different amounts of money.  This was a mass emailing trick hoping to find a victim.

During the months we’ve been hearing about this scam, this email scam has been evolving slightly.  The third email below, received on July 10, suggested to the recipient that the extortionist must be speaking the truth BECAUSE he knew one of the victims passwords.  While this may be true, it is just a very clever trick!  The extortionist has been on the “dark web” purchasing or looking up stolen passwords associated with email addresses, and then targeting those email addresses!  You can find out if any of your passwords are available for sale or free on the dark web by visiting “HaveIBeenPwned.com”

June 25, 2018:

 

June 29, 2018:

July 10, 2018:

Lawrence Abrams of BleepingComputer.com recently published an update about this extortion scam.  Apparently, at least $50,000 was paid to the scammer in one week alone.  Read the details here at Bleeping Computer.