ESSEX Police have sent out an alert to the community about sextortion phishing attacks where people are coerced to pay a BitCoin ransom because they have been threatened with sharing video of themselves visiting adult websites.
The force has shared information to young people and vulnerable internet users who may have been on the end of an attempted scam.
Phishing is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.
The information is then used to access important accounts and can result in identity theft and financial loss.
Due to the lockdown, people are spending a lot more time at home on the computers and may be unaware of the extent of the ways in which criminals can exploit people.
These scams are made to appear all the more credible because they provide seemingly plausible technical details about how this was achieved, and the phish can sometimes also include the individual’s password.
Phishes are designed to play on people’s emotions so that they will behave in a way which is out of character, and scams such as this are no different.
The phisher is gambling that enough people will respond so that their scam is profitable; they do not know if you have a webcam, have been visiting adult websites, or the means by which you communicate with people – in short, they are guessing. The phisher hopes to emotionally trigger people so that they will ‘take the bait’ and pay the ransom.
Police say, as with other phishes, their advice is not to engage with the phisher, delete the email and report it to here.
Do not be tempted to pay the BitCoin ransom, doing so will likely encourage more scams as the phisher will know they have a ‘willing’ customer.
If the phish includes a password you still use then change it immediately, advice on how to create suitable passwords and enable other factors of authentication is available from Cyber Aware..
If you have been a victim of a sextortion scam and have paid the BitCoin ransom, then report it to Essex police force by calling 101. They will respect your privacy.
If you need emotional support this is available from charities such as Victim Support by calling 0808 168 9111 or clicking here..