Real Passwords, Real Fear: Online Sextortion Scams

Over the past few years, numerous companies have admitted to security breaches that led to private and personal data of its users getting packaged and sold on the dark web. That data included passwords, password hints, and login handles. 

Buyers of this data use it to launch elaborate blackmail scams that scare targets into paying ransom fees in bitcoin or wire transfers.

One emerging online sextortion scam capitalizes on a common fear: making private moments public. 

This scam begins with a taunting email from an anonymous sender who correctly guesses a password you commonly use. Then they claim to have recorded you masturbating to porn and will send that recording to all of your contacts if you don’t pay up. You’re given 24-hours to comply.

The effectiveness of these scams relies on the fact that many, many masturbate to porn and would be embarrassed if that type of video was spread amongst their personal and professional circles. If you think you are a target of this scam, here’s some general advice:

Don’t pay

Don’t respond with attempts to negotiate

Don’t click on any links

Cover your webcam with duct tape

Change your passwords to ones that are long and complex. 

The frequency of user data leaks is frightening, and any possibility of exposure is enough to make someone comply with the blackmailer’s demands.

If you did pay or still feel unsure about your privacy, call us at 646-666-8908. Our firm will investigate options for legal action and put together safety plan that protects your reputation going forward. 

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