17 Sep “Sextortion” Phishing Scam Blackmailing People with their Passwords
If you’re on the internet and use multiple passwords, you need to be aware of phishing scams.
To put it simply, a phishing scam is when an individual attempts to steal personal information from you by posing as someone trustworthy, e.g., a well-known corporation.
The latest phishing scam that’s going around is one that leads people to believe the phisher already has sensitive information and used it to install spy malware onto their computer. They have allegedly got hold of their user history which they use to claim the victim has been watching porn. The phisher then blackmails the victim for an amount of money so that they won’t expose the victims’ search history.
Typically, the email that you receive from the phisher will include the name of the porn site that they allegedly installed the malware on, the ransom amount and how much time you’ve got to pay this amount before they release your sensitive information.
But they haven’t got your information, right?
That’s the whole point of the scam. However, one thing that is scarily sophisticated about it is that the password they will include in their email to you will often be a password that you’ve used in the past. This goes a long way in trying to convince you of their legitimacy.
The concern doesn’t stop there, however. With technology getting more advanced, it’s predicted that these scammers will be able to obtain more recent passwords that you’ve used, giving more legitimacy to the threat.
So, what’s the best thing to do when you receive an email like this?
The short answer is to ignore it. While this is definitely the best option, and additional action you can take is to report it. However, this in itself is complicated – because of the nature of the threats and the subject matter, many people would rather not report it.
We recommend staying calm and looking for signs that the email you received is indeed fake. Some of these indications include poor construction of the email, grammatical errors, unusual formatting and a strange email address.
It’s also vital that you don’t click on any attachments or links – this could result in unwanted ransomware being installed on your computer.
If you have received an email like this, it’s crucial that you change your password immediately. Try to always use a strong and separate password for each online account you have. Additionally, if you do have the same password across multiple accounts, reset each one.
The most important advice we can give you in this situation is do not reply to the email. Try to be habitual about ensuring your operating systems and anti-virus software are up-to-date with the latest security patches and definitions, and try to remember to cover your webcam when it’s not being used.
When it comes to scams like these, remember not to panic. At the end of the day, they don’t have any of your personal information to threaten you with, so there’s no need to be concerned. Take preventative measures, and you’ll reduce the likelihood of receiving emails like this.
For a really “bad” example of one of these Sextortion phishing scam emails, click here to read one we received a few weeks ago!
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