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There are a lot of scams out there, but few are as sleazy and nasty as this one.  Recently, it reared its ugly head again.

The scammer sends out an email that describes, in graphic detail, your supposed …. adult surfing habits.  It goes on to inform you that not only has the blackmailer installed software on your computer, but he has recorded your web surfing habits, as well as activating your camera to catch you in the act!

Finally, the criminal attempts to extort money from you to keep your behavior from being broadcast to your friends and family.

A little research found that this scam has been going around in various forms for a while.  Of course, the goal is to scare you into paying the blackmailer.

In one of the emails a portion of your password may even be listed!  Again, this does not necessarily mean that the blackmailer has your information.  HOWEVER, it does mean that your information has become available.  Yes, there really is a ‘dark web’ and yes, people do purchase our information.

Apart from the obvious of not visiting questionable websites, here are some things you should be aware of and action you should take:

  1. Always, always use secure passwords. Make them different and do not include personally identifiable information.  Secure passwords are the first line of defense against cyber criminals.  Further, change your passwords regularly.  I cannot emphasize this enough.
  2. Delete these emails and do not respond.
  3. Make sure you have several layers of protection in place. These include a good web filter that blocks websites known to carry malware and phishing sites.  An email philter that blocks spam and protects you from opening links and displaying ‘hidden pixels’ like the one described in the email below.

I’ve included two sample emails, so you can recognize these scams.  Below you’ll also find links to some other sites that reported similar scams with additional examples.

https://www.techlicious.com/blog/is-the-porn-blackmail-scam-real/
https://www.wombatsecurity.com/news/the-x-rated-scam-that-could-cost-you-thousands-if-youve-ever-watched-porn
https://myonlinesecurity.co.uk/attempted-blackmail-scam-watching-porn/