Sextortion: email scam demands Bitcoin ‘ransom’ payment
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We’re urging everyone to be aware of an email scam in which fraudsters are demanding payment – or claiming they will release compromising videos or information about their victims.
The scam emails may make claims including that the sender has recorded a video of their victim watching pornography, for example by using a webcam. The scams may sometimes include current or former passwords, or appear to have been sent from the victim’s own email address.
Scammers claim that only by making a payment in the online currency Bitcoin can victims can guarantee that these materials are deleted. This is known as sextortion.
People across the country, including in South Wales, have reported receiving these emails.
Please remember that these fraudsters do not know if you have a webcam, have been visiting adult websites, or the means by which you communicate with people – in short, they are guessing.
However, they hope to emotionally trigger people so that they will ‘take the bait’ and pay the ransom.
DS Steve Jones said:
“Although we have seen this type of scam before, many of the emails currently being reported are similar, indicating they are being sent in greater number than normal.
“Because they may show victims’ current or former passwords, the emails can seem a credible threat.
“However, we would ask people to be aware that this is a scam, and to make others aware by sharing this message.”
- don’t make any payments
- don’t reply to the emails
- take measures to enhance your security such as changing your passwords
More information on protecting yourself is available at https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/sextortion-scams-how-to-protect-yourself.
To make a report, you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/sextortion. If you have paid any money, call police on 101. Emotional support is available from charities including Victim Support.