Scam Alert: Threatening Email Message
Published July 20, 2018
It has come to our attention that a customer recently received a threatening email message. The scammer claimed to have the customer’s email and password, and was demanding $3,000 or the scammer would email to the customer’s contacts, video footage claiming it was of porn-related material.
Please know this is an old scam that has resurfaced with a new twist. To view a scam very similar to what the customers experienced please visit: https://gizmodo.com/dont-fall-for-this-scam-claiming-you-were-recorded-watc-1827557323. Again, this is a scam.
On July 25, 2018 MSN featured a scam that is similar in nature on their website: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/fbi-warns-of-adultery-blackmail-scam/ar-AAAnerW?li=BBnb7Kz.
Update: October 26 – One of the latest email scams claims that “I’m a hacker who cracked your email and device a few months ago.” They show a password that you’ve used as some point, which adds some fear and credibility to their claim. It’s likely that a data breach from a website that you’d signed up for (likely years ago) had exposed your email address and password. You may have noticed your password was one you hadn’t used in years, meaning the website that exposed the data may have been hacked years ago.
It’s more scary to people who don’t change their password often, since the password in their email could match the one they’re still using. It’s likely the “hacker” got this list of email addresses and password combinations from a dark web site that contained a list of hacked accounts and probably never even accessed your email. They also claim that the email was sent to you from your account, when in fact, it was likely just sent through a system that made it appear as if it was sent from you. Keeping it non-technical, they basically insert your email address into the “from” field, making it seem it was sent from your account.
Again, this is a known scam that is circulating. Many popular sites are advising people NOT to pay and to change your passwords if the email contains a password you’re still using. Also, it’s always a good idea to change your passwords at least once a year and to use strong passwords that include a variation of numbers, letters, and special characters.