A recent scam email campaign is threatening users into forking over £1,000’s worth of Bitcoin, with the attacker claiming to have “access to your device” and making a “nice little video” through the user’s webcam. The phishing email is part of a sextortion scam that tries to blackmail users – forcing them to pay a ransom to prevent a compromising video from being sent out to a list of contacts.
If you received the email, you aren’t alone. Scammers often send millions of phishing emails, thousands at a time, to trick recipients, with malicious messages being sent to email addresses found through social profiles or via data breaches. This email scam is widespread, and the best action is to ignore the message completely.
Example of scam email
Here’s an example of the “Let me get straight to the point” scam email below:
The attacker threatens the recipient by stating, “Your device has been compromised because your love watching sick content (you know what I’m talking about). Because of this I was able to get access to your device.” It’s apparently a recording of the user “having a good time,” and the scammer claims to have made a “nice little video in which you are the main protagonist.”
The email continues to say: “If you don’t want this recording to reach all your contacts you should consider sending 1000 GBP worth of bitcoin to my wallet.” The attacker offers their Bitcoin wallet information and links for the recipient to purchase Bitcoin. They expect the user to make a payment within 48 hours, saying, “after I receive the ‘reward,’ you will never hear from me ever again and the video will be deleted.”
It’s a terrifying email to pop up, but these scams are empty threats. Scam emails such as this will use generalised knowledge to make potential victims believe the attacker has compromising information about them. In reality, the scammer is bluffing and wants to play into your fears.
Should I pay the ransom?
No, you should not pay the ransom. The scammers don’t have any compromising information and want to threaten you into paying the money. The best course of action is to ignore the email. Do not reply to the attacker, as this may escalate the situation further. Instead, delete the email.
Like in this scam email campaign, threat actors may also include links to other websites. Do not click on these links, as they could lead you to malicious websites or install malware on your device. This phishing tactic is similar to how threat actors can hack your phone by texting.
Scammers will say they use malware, spyware, and more on a user’s devices, and while this may not be true, it’s a good idea to check. Antivirus software like Bitdefender will scan your device for all manner of cybersecurity threats, including malware, ransomware, spyware, viruses, and more. It also provides phishing protection that analyses pages for signs of fraud, meaning fewer scam emails make their way to your inbox.
If you’re wondering how to choose the best antivirus software, we’ve got you covered.