Beware of Extortion Scams

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The Grenville County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) report that, there has been an increase in reported extortion scams. The scammer will inform the citizen that a video or picture, containing explicit sexual content, will be made public if they do not pay a fee via bitcoin immediately. Consumers are receiving emails from scammers citing a password that they are currently using or previously used as proof that they have hacked their computer while they were visiting a pornographic site and as a result, access to the webcam was gained and all proceedings were recorded. To prevent any humiliation, scammers urge victims to pay a “confidentiality fee” by bitcoin or the video will be shared with all family members, colleagues and friends.

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Current reporting to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) indicates that this is a scam email attempting to extort consumers into paying the requested ransom and that no actual video exists. Reporting also suggest that the passwords being cited have been obtained from previous data breaches.

Warning Signs – How to Protect Yourself

  • Change your passwords regularly – especially if you’ve been involved in a data breach.
  • Although not a guarantee, consumers may search their email address to confirm possible involvement in a previous hack or breach: https://haveibeenpwned.com/
  • Keep anti-virus programs updated and run checks routinely.
  • Beware of unsolicited emails demanding personal information or immediate payment.
  • If you’ve been involved in a data breach, contact the credit bureaus to place fraud alerts on your identity.