The Fraud Help Desk hotline has been flooded with phone calls about extortion emails in recent days. The messages have a commandeering tone and demand payment in Bitcoin.
There are different variants doing the rounds. Some of these extortion messages claim that the recipient has visited a porn website. Supposedly, there are images to prove this. Recipients were allegedly filmed after their computer was hacked. Other emails suggest that your operating system was hacked. Don’t fall for this story, it’s all bluff.
In some cases, the email appears to have been sent from your own account. However, this is not the case; it’s a technique applied by these con artists to make it look that way. In other cases, recipients’ passwords are given. Until now, these passwords have all been leaked as a result of data breaches, for example at LinkedIn or Yahoo.
Lists of these passwords can simply be found online. It therefore doesn’t mean that your computer has been compromised. Nonetheless, you are advised to replace your passwords immediately.
These extortion emails are sheer bluff. Don’t pay anything. Forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org before deleting it from your inbox.