Police warning over 'sextortion' scam emails

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(Last Updated On: May 4, 2020)

Police have warned the public to be aware of ‘sextortion’ scam emails where victims are being asked to send a ransom in BitCoins to prevent videos of themselves visiting adult websites being sent to their contacts.

Devon and Cornwall Police explained “Sextortion scam emails attempt to coerce victims to pay a BitCoin ransom to the scammers by threatening to publish videos of the victim visiting adult websites, and state that the scammer has access to all the victims’ social media contacts in order to do this. These emails can be made all the more convincing as the scammers may include one of the victims passwords in the email.”

An example of one of the emails being received by people was shared on Spotted Torquay:

?? ????? ???? (your password shown) ?? ???? ????????.
? ???? ???? ???????? ????????? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??????-???? ???, ?? ? ???? ????????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ?? ????? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ????.
???, ??? ???’? ???? ??. ??????? ? ???? ???? ????? ?????????? ????????? ???. ???? ??????? ?? ??????? ????, ????? ???????? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??? ??????? ???????? ?? ???? ???????? ???? ???????? ??? ????.
????? ????????, ???? ???? ???????? ????? ???????, ????? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?????? ??? ? ‘? ????????? ???? ?????????? ?-???? ?? ???.

For the full email, click here.

Devon and Cornwall Police have given the following advice:
Convincing as they are, it is not even always the case that the victim has in fact been looking at adult websites. So in order to protect yourself:
Don’t reply to or click on any of the links in the email. Report the email to Action Fraud at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing (assuming that you have not parted with money or personal details).
Don’t make the Bitcoin payment. Doing so may encourage more scams as the fraudster will know they have a ‘willing customer’.
If you have made the Bitcoin payment, or otherwise parted with money, report it to 101@dc.police.uk or https://services.devon-cornwall.police.uk/crimereporting
If the email includes a password you still use, change it immediately. Also consult this website to see what other of your online information may have been compromised by a data breach of a company or organisation that you have been dealing with: www.HaveIBeenPwned.com
For more information, about how to protect yourself from sextortion scams (remember, you don’t actually need to have been looking at adult material, but the scam emails are nonetheless convincing and threatening) read advice from the National Cyber Security Centre https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/sextortion-scams-how-to-protect-yourself and Action Fraud https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/alert/alert-cyber-criminals-send-victims-their-own-passwords-in-new-sextortion-scam

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