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Sextortion - I learned a new word today.

Well, maybe I did know the word already, but it came up today in a scam email that had me shaking in my computer chair, until I realized there was nothing to fear.

I received an email with a real password I use sometimes, demanding money from me saying there was video of me viewing a porn site. If I didn't pay $1000 they would send the video (of me) to 9 of my FB friends. Extortion.

Um... no, not me.. honestly, couldn't have been me. I'm one of the few people in America who does not view porn. AND I also have tape over my webcam so there could be no video of me (not) viewing porn either.

Luckily I learned from some online articles that this is indeed a new scam, using OLD passwords associated with e-mail addresses, and I have no need to worry. I've changed my password on the few old sites that I was still using that old password. Nothing important.

Apparently some sites were hacked a few years ago, Dropbox and Linked In, and others that I don’t use. Now those harvested email addresses and old passwords are being used in this new kind of scam.

Funny thing, they only asked me for $1000 in Bitcoin... Similar scams I see people reporting were being asked for $1900, $2900 or more... Guess I get a senior citizen discount, haha!

Though it's not silly, random or fun, it IS a reminder to change simple passwords you might still be using from years ago - and put tape on your webcam, when not using it!

Here are the articles that made me feel better after receiving this seemingly personal email - that wasn't.

[businessinsider.com]

[krebsonsecurity.com]

Update Sept 11, 2018 I just received another email from same email address, this time the ransom went up to $5000, haha! This one was worded slightly differently. In any case, glad it's nothing to worry about.

Julie808 8 Sep 7
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28 comments

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10

Got a similar one. Chuckled and deleted it. I'm a grown ass adult. WTF do I care if people know I watch porn? ?

Exactly...as a matter of fact, I think most of the people I know would find it a relief to know we all probably did or do watch! ha ha ha

Well even though it's not possible, someone like me who has a local reputation for celebrating ethical and moral behavior with humanistic ceremonies could be a target for smearing by some religious zealot who wants to blacken my name or the reputation of humanists at large. I try to be a good ambassador for humanism. πŸ˜‰

@Julie808 I get that. I work in human services and have always been in the public eye. I push back now that I'm older and want people to accept that being a wee bit of a perv and being a good person are not mutually exclusive

6

I have a pink post-it note over my webcam so I can remove it for Skype calls and then put it back up easily.
I laugh when I get the "blackmail" emails....but, even if they did have a video of "me viewing porn" (which they can't possibly)...I wouldn't care. Money in my bank account means more than people's opinions about my viewing habits. LOL

5

I've gotten a couple of those threats over the last few months.
I ignore them.

I've had people I know try to blackmail me with things they think I'd be
too ashamed to have anyone else know about.
They're always so surprised when I tell them to "go ahead and do whatever
you think you need to".
I also always let them know that I have everything connected to their threats documented (whether I do or not, although I usually do). Then, I remind them that their time dealing with law enforcement is going to last WAY longer than any embarrassment they think that I may have to deal with.
I don't do "shame", I simply do not care what anyone else may think of me.
It's none of my business what others think of me anyway.

The ONLY way blackmail works is if you (general you) let your fear of being
"exposed", give anyone else control over you.
Anyone attempting to use extortion is banking on their target being weak and
afraid.
If anyone is going to succumb to blackmail, I really have no sympathy for them.
They were too weak to stand up to it.

Agreed. I decided at age 35 that I would never be embarrassed again, and I haven’t been. Can’t think of anything I do that I would care if others found out. People might judge my choices, but that’s their issue.

5

For $20 I won't tell anyone that you don't watch porn

lerlo Level 8 Sep 7, 2018

Anyone who knows me knows I don't. I'm not worried. Not interested in anyone who does either. Yep, that's how particular I am about guys. Yep, that's why I'm happily single.

@Julie808 I guess the $20 is out of the question then. πŸ™‚

5

The scams are just endless. Good for you for not falling for it.

While I wouldn't have fallen for it - it did make me nervous until I realized it was a new scam being used. It took calling my daughter and son-in-law to calm me down and send me information about the scam and what to do about it. Interesting - and thought others should be aware of this scam - since I was totally unaware of such a thing.

5

There have been suicides in the UK related to this scam.

That's so sad. I can see how it could cause someone extreme anxiety. The letter mentions "and if you are in an important relationship, how it will eventually affect?" One of the articles mentions how some of these bitcoin accounts have taken in $80,000+ by targets who followed their directions out of fear.

3

I so would have called their bluff. "Dude, send it, hit me with a copy, too."

Like most spam,any reply can give them more information than they already had. Just dump it in the spam folder or forward it to the police and local news stations to warn others.

3

Thank you ! The best ways to beat scams is to be aware of them , before they wind up in our mail boxes , spam them when they show up , and delete the one you did receive , to remove any temptation/fear . Nice going , hon !

2

Got a message to my work email that said I was a contributer to a porn video on Vimeo. I wish! JK lol ?

2

If they claimed to be watching me and didn't mention Susan the inflatable Lama, the rubber boots or the vermillion aqua lung hooked up the chicken, then I wouldn't worry about it.

2

Thanks for the heads up on the new scam

2

I got one of those. I was like...go for it post away. I mean if that is the worst you got on me you aren't digging very deep

2

I saw that in a movie once. I didn't know it actually happened.

I use a memorized code to generate passwords that are unique to the site I'm on. I've done that for years. My passwords are super complex but I have no trouble remembering what they are.

2

If this happened to me i would admit it straight away and not to mention all my friends know anyway. Theres no shame in this for me at all haha. Octopus porn FTW! πŸ™‚

Nardi Level 7 Sep 7, 2018

Just thinking the same thing; no one would be surprised! ?

2

I'm glad you didn't fall for it. There is a video of you viewing a porn site. Most likely three quarters of America has viewed a porn site. So what. I once had a similar thing come to me and the sender actually wanted to threaten me into providing details and told me what would happen if I did not do so. I ignored it and it finally stopped.

2

I have been getting phone messages saying I am in legal jeopardy and that if I don't talk to these people the local cops are going to arrest me. It's all a scam of course. There are a lot of losers out there who can't or prefer not to make an honest living and instead try to prey on others. Unfortunately they do find victims, but happily I have so far not been one of them. At least not so far. The best policy is not to respond to any email or phone message directly. Your bank, the IRS, the local police, the Nigerian Consulate, none of them will call or email you asking for information. Just file it under "Another bullet dodged." ?

I've had those also and nobody in these agencies works that way. They write letters and they do not call and demand money. We have a local newspaper editor calling such a number and being taped and filmed because he is showing us that the FBI doesn't operate that way. The "FBI agent" then threated to come out and arrest him. Did anything happen? No, because these agencies do not operate that way.

2

Thanks for the idea of tape over the webcam. I learned out how one can get access to a webcam, and I'm pretty sure that I won't do any of those things, but why not cover over the webcame when not in use?

I have a piece of cardboard folded quite nicely at the top of my laptop I can move it back and forth it will and to me watching porn is pointless so there would be no video.

My webcam has a lenscap.

@oldFloyd Cardboard easier than sticky note. Not that I watch porn, but I do use the computer first thing in the morning.

@Stephanie99 I use my laptop morning and evening.
And the porn is like horse racing or auto racing if you're not riding or driving it ain't no fun?

2

Thanks for the warnings!

1

I have an friend in Texas who is a evangelical Christian. Apparently her husband has a porn addiction, and thought being a part of an online "Christian" support group was the way to handle it without it embarrassing him. Well, this support group was a front for blackmailers and he was blackmailed with not only what he said, but with email/pics from a female he was sexting with.

I don't know how much money they got from them, but as of the beginning of the year they were contacting their friends to extort money from the friends (they contacted me; I told them they could not hurt me and to go fuck themselves). Unfortunately, these people are in the Philippines, so there is nothing the US can do.

I live by never telling anyone anything that you don't mind everyone knowing.

1

This is a common scam. I was hit at least 6 times by two different people (or maybe the same person using different spoofed email addresses, IDK). Yes, that initial email scared the shit out of me despite the "revelation" being completely untrue. The scam emails I received implied I was doing more than watching porn and they had installed keystroke logging software on my machine, yammer-yammer-yammer. I deleted them all. LOL!

1

Using a password manager, if you use it well, can help [1] reduce the chances of your passwords getting cracked, and [2] reduce your vulnerability when it does happen. "Using it well" includes [0] choosing a strong master password or passphrase for the manager, [1] letting it create strong passwords for you (long, gibberish, with mixed case, numbers, and maybe symbols), and [2] creating a unique password for every account.

Examples include LastPass - they store all the passwords securely for you in the cloud - and KeePass - where you store your own database file.

[lastpass.com]

Yep. Thanks. I'll look into some password storage accounts, but am happy with my paper list I keep for now. (Not trusting anyone or anything at the moment, haha!)

I'm aware of how to create strong passwords, but this particular one was a simple password I used many years ago when the web was new, but there were still a few seldom visited sites where I hadn't strengthened my password in the past several years. Changed those a few minutes after receiving this email. That was actually my main concern was that someone could go into those old sites and do something weird, but wouldn't they have already done it instead of giving me the heads up? Anyway, lesson learned - strengthen ALL passwords, and know this type of scam exists.

@Julie808, there's some debate in the security community on whether paper password lists are a good idea. IMO, the more important things are to have unique and secure passwords. πŸ™‚

I have a friend who keeps passwords in a little journal with a cover that says PASSWORDS in bold type. On the desk. Sigh.

1

So terrible! That burns me up. They need to be caught and prosecuted.

Yeah - not sure if I should provide the email headers and bitcoin address to authorities - I'm happy to - but I really doubt anything would come of it.

1

Good to know!

0

I would send them back a picture of me watching them watch me watch porn. Then some poor crime scene cleaner has to wipe the pieces of this jerks blown mind off the walls. Sweet justice.

0

I hear ya. I don’t watch it either. I would either tell them sure do what you want or just ignore their bs.

Best to ignore. Not worried - sure did have me shaking at first read though!

@Julie808 I generally ignore too. However there are times when bring it on would certainly be entertaining.

@Mikeb56 Um... not for me! Speak for yourself, haha! I just figure that any reply to spam shows it's a live account. The scary part of it was that it said there was a "pixel" that shows I read the email, and the clock for me to get the money to them started at that moment. Gets your attention, but now I know better and am happy to let it go.

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