Clients contact us regularly asking whether or not they should be concerned about an email they received from an unknown source who is demanding money or action. As the creativity of these emails scams increases, there are compelling reasons for concern, and new tactics include using known information about you within the emails in an attempt to increase credibility.
Sextortion Scams are those that attempt to defraud you by telling you that the “hacker” has intimate knowledge of your internet usage, including porn sites, etc. They will likely tell you that they placed a file on your computer that gives them complete control, including the ability to turn on your webcam. They will state that they have access to all of your contacts and have knowledge of your family members on social media, and will be forwarding a video if you do not pay them in bitcoin. These scams are becoming more and more common and the amounts vary wildly from $300 to $4000 USD.
In order to get your attention, they may include the last four digits of your phone number, a current or past password that you have commonly used, or other information easily attainable from an internet search. This will instantly give them more credibility, but with all of the data breaches of major companies in the news, you can see where they are attaining this information, and it can be bought in various places online to include in their automated phishing schemes.
Yes and no. If your password was included in the email, this is cause for concern, especially if you are still using that email on any websites you visit. We highly recommend that you use a different password on every online account, and while we know this is difficult, it is the only way to place a firewall between each account to prevent further hacking.
If you have reason to believe that your account has legitimately been hacked, feel free to reach out. Do not forward any email you feel might contain a virus, but call us and we’ll walk you through a few steps to determine if it is safe to forward. We’re always happy to help.