South Yorkshire police issued a warning to local residents about cyber criminals who are trying to deceive victims, believing they were filmed on their computer watching pornography, demanding payment.
The force received 15 reports of a similar nature last week, with victims reporting that “images” will be sent to all their contacts if they do not pay a Bitcoin fine.
In some cases, fraudsters make threats appear even more convincing by sending their message than appears to be the victim’s own email account and revealing the password.
Cyber protection director Dannielle Lee of SYP’s Digital Investigations and Intelligence team said: “The emails claim the victim was filmed on his computer watching porn and requires payment of up to $ 3,000 in Bitcoin.
“Scams like this are known as ‘sextortion’, which is the practice of extorting money from someone, threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity. Whether or not the victim realizes that this is a scam, email can be very disturbing to receive – especially when criminals seem to know your password, are demanding high payments and have a strict deadline. Fortunately, none of the people who reported this scam to us lost money.
“Action Fraud – the national center for reporting fraud and cyber crimes – suspects that fraudsters may have acquired the passwords of victims of an old data breach. If you received an email like this, I recommend that you change your password as soon as possible to ensure your safety. “
You must report all “sextortion” incidents to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk. As a result of the current situation at Covid-19, the Action Fraud contact center is currently providing a reduced service, so it is recommended that reports be done online whenever possible, as waiting times on the phone have increased.
Action Fraud provided the following tips on how to protect yourself:
– Do not respond to the email or be pressured to pay: it just highlights that you are vulnerable and can be targeted again. The police advise you not to pay criminals. Try to flag the email as spam / junk if you receive it multiple times.
– Perform password resets as quickly as possible on all accounts where you used the password mentioned in the email. Always use a strong, separate password for important accounts, such as your email. Where available, enable two-factor authentication (2FA).
– Always install the latest software and application updates. Install or activate antivirus software on your laptops and computers and keep it up to date.