Email sextortion scams were big money makers for scammers back in the fourth quarter of 2018 but as soon as they blossomed they withered away only to bloom again in 2021. Sextortion scams never actually went away they are just becoming more popular again and one can only assume it’s because of the success the initial campaign had in 2018.
In 2018 email scammers sent mass email messages to people who mostly had their email account information leaked online following a security breach. Many email messages were sent but the bulk of them attempted to extort victims for money by falsely claiming to have recorded them and accessed their information. Some scammers even used email spoofing services to make it look like the email messages were sent from the victim’s accounts and in some cases, the scammers would include leaked information about the email recipient including their email account passwords and phone numbers. It’s a long story, so if you want to read more about it here are some previous articles on the matter:
Cut to 2021 and it appears that email sextortion scams are on the rise again to some extent. One of the latest email templates used by scammers claims that your devices were accessed and they recorded you pleasuring yourself. And, if you didn’t know why these are called sextortion scams, now you do.
The email says that you have 48 hours to send $1550 USD to the scammer’s Bitcoin wallet identified as 1665CsfFELrfiiubFZtLsGHGuqbUz1wXcz. This wallet currently has $1,507.10 USD worth of Bitcoin in it someone can assume there is at least 1 victim of the scammer linked to this wallet.
If you receive an email like this please rest assure that it is a scam and you can ignore it. However, it can be an indication that your data such as your email address was leaked online during a third-party breach because people who receive these emails are usually on the same list.
Since your account information may have been leaked online it is strongly advised to change your password immediately to avoid unwanted access to your accounts although no reports of this happening have been confirmed in the past. Follow these best practices when making a new secure password:
- Do not reuse the same password for multiple accounts. Use unique passwords wherever possible.
- Use strong passwords with numbers, letters, and special characters such as !@$#.
- Use two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security along with your password.
- Use a reputable password manager if you have trouble remembering multiple passwords.
Here’s an example of one of the latest email sextortion scams:
Subject: Payment from your account.
I have to share bad news with you.
Approximately few months ago I have gained access to your devices, which you use for internet browsing.
After that, I have started tracking your internet activities.
Here is the sequence of events:
Some time ago I have purchased access to email accounts from hackers (nowadays, it is quite simple to purchase such thing online).
Obviously, I have easily managed to log in to your email account (YourEmailAddress@Example.com).
One week later, I have already installed Trojan virus to Operating Systems of all the devices that you use to access your email.
In fact, it was not really hard at all (since you were following the links from your inbox emails).
All ingenious is simple. =)
This software provides me with access to all the controllers of your devices (e.g., your microphone, video camera and keyboard).
I have downloaded all your information, data, photos, web browsing history to my servers.
I have access to all your messengers, social networks, emails, chat history and contacts list.
My virus continuously refreshes the signatures (it is driver-based), and hence remains invisible for antivirus software.
Likewise, I guess by now you understand why I have stayed undetected until this letter…
While gathering information about you, I have discovered that you are a big fan of adult websites.
You really love visiting porn websites and watching exciting videos, while enduring an enormous amount of pleasure.
Well, I have managed to record a number of your dirty scenes and montaged a few videos, which show the way you masturbate and reach orgasms.
If you have doubts, I can make a few clicks of my mouse and all your videos will be shared to your friends, colleagues and relatives.
I have also no issue at all to make them available for public access.
I guess, you really don’t want that to happen, considering the specificity of the videos you like to watch, (you perfectly know what I mean) it will cause a true catastrophe for you.
Let’s settle it this way:
You transfer $1550 USD to me (in bitcoin equivalent according to the exchange rate at the moment of funds transfer), and once the transfer is received, I will delete all this dirty stuff right away.
After that we will forget about each other. I also promise to deactivate and delete all the harmful software from your devices. Trust me, I keep my word.
This is a fair deal and the price is quite low, considering that I have been checking out your profile and traffic for some time by now.
In case, if you don’t know how to purchase and transfer the bitcoins – you can use any modern search engine.
Here is my bitcoin wallet: 1665CsfFELrfiiubFZtLsGHGuqbUz1wXcz
You have less than 48 hours from the moment you opened this email (precisely 2 days).
Things you need to avoid from doing:
*Do not reply me (I have created this email inside your inbox and generated the return address).
*Do not try to contact police and other security services. In addition, forget about telling this to you friends. If I discover that (as you can see, it is really not so hard, considering that I control all your systems) – your video will be shared to public right away.
*Don’t try to find me – it is absolutely pointless. All the cryptocurrency transactions are anonymous.
*Don’t try to reinstall the OS on your devices or throw them away. It is pointless as well, since all the videos have already been saved at remote servers.
Things you don’t need to worry about:
*That I won’t be able to receive your funds transfer.
– Don’t worry, I will see it right away, once you complete the transfer, since I continuously track all your activities (my trojan virus has got a remote-control feature, something like TeamViewer).
*That I will share your videos anyway after you complete the funds transfer.
– Trust me, I have no point to continue creating troubles in your life. If I really wanted that, I would do it long time ago!
Everything will be done in a fair manner!
One more thing… Don’t get caught in similar kind of situations anymore in future!
My advice – keep changing all your passwords on a frequent basis
As you can it’s a very generic message unlike other sextortion email scam messages in the past and I’m sure there are many other variants of this message circulating from inbox to inbox as we speak. Stay safe!