As we come to rely on technology more and more for our communication, it's natural that fraudsters, thieves, and swindlers are going to turn to those channels to ply their grim trade. Email, despite being old technology, is still one of the backbones of how we communicate digitally - and it's prime ground for scammers who will attempt to steal your identity, your money, and your confidential information.
One, of many, types of scam emails allude to the use of adult sites. What do you need to know?
What do the emails look like?
Scam emails often follow a pattern, and once you begin to understand that pattern it makes them much easier to see. To make this live a little more, let's use a genuine example and pick out some things that highlight it as a scam.
This is a genuine scam email received:
I have very bad news for you.
17/07/2019 - on this day I hacked your OS and got full access to your account.
You can check it - I sent this message from your account.
So, you can change the password, yes.. But my malware intercepts it every time.
How I made it:
In the software of the router, through which you went online, was a vulnerability.
I just hacked this router and placed my malicious code on it.
When you went online, my trojan was installed on the OS of your device.
After that, I made a full dump of your disk (I have all your address book, history of viewing sites, all files, phone numbers and addresses of all your contacts).
A month ago, I wanted to lock your device and ask for a not big amount of btc to unlock.
But I looked at the sites that you regularly visit, and I was shocked by what I saw!!!
I'm talk you about sites for adults.
I want to say - you are a BIG pervert. Your fantasy is shifted far away from the normal course!
And I got an idea....
I made a screenshot of the adult sites where you have fun (do you understand what it is about, huh?).
After that, I made a screenshot of your joys (using the camera of your device) and glued them together.
Turned out amazing! You are so spectacular!
I'm know that you would not like to show these screenshots to your friends, relatives or colleagues.
I think $929 is a very, very small amount for my silence.
Besides, I have been spying on you for so long, having spent a lot of time!
Pay ONLY in Bitcoins!
My BTC wallet: 15yF8WkUg8PRjJehYW4tGdqcyzc4z7dScM
You do not know how to use bitcoins?
Enter a query in any search engine: "how to replenish btc wallet".
It's extremely easy
For this payment I give you two days (48 hours).
As soon as this letter is opened, the timer will work.
After payment, my virus and dirty screenshots with your enjoys will be self-destruct automatically.
If I do not receive from you the specified amount, then your device will be locked, and all your contacts will receive a screenshots with your "enjoys".
I hope you understand your situation.
- Do not try to find and destroy my virus! (All your data, files and screenshots is already uploaded to a remote server)
- Do not try to contact me (you yourself will see that this is impossible, I sent you an email from your account)
- Various security services will not help you; formatting a disk or destroying a device will not help, since your data is already on a remote server.
P.S. You are not my single victim. so, I guarantee you that I will not disturb you again after payment!
This is the word of honor hacker.
I also ask you to regularly update your antiviruses in the future. This way you will no longer fall into a similar situation.
Do not hold evil! I just do my job.
This is a second genuine scam email received:
18/07/19 - As you may have noticed, I sent you an email in your account.
This means that I have full access to your device and accounts. I've been watching you for a few months now.
The fact is that you were infected with malware through an adult site that you visited. If you are not familiar with this, I will
Trojan Virus gives me full access and control your devices.
This means that I can see everything on your screen, turn on the camera and microphone, but you do not know about it.
I also have access to all your contacts and all your correspondence.
Why your antivirus did not detect malware? answer: My malware uses the driver, I update its signatures every 4 hours so that your antivirus is silent.
I made a video showing h0w you satisfy yourself in the left half of the screen, and in the right half you see the video that you watched.
With one click of the mouse, I can send this vide0 to all your emails and contacts^.
If you want to prevent this, tr@nsfer the amount of $981 to my bitcoin address (if you do not know how to do this, write to Google: "Buy Bitcoin").
My bitcoin address (BTC Wallet) is: 12yCNJHAwda8Kgxv9DswpS9k16XnstSqcJ
After receiving the payment, I will delete the video and you will never hear me again. I give you 48 hours to pay.
I have a notice reading this letter, and the timer will work when you see this letter.
Filing a complaint somewhere does not make sense because this email cannot be tracked like my bitcoin address.
I do not make any mistakes.
If I find that you have shared this message with someone else, the video will be immediately distributed.
So what do we learn from this?
The telltale signs
The first thing that should strike you about reading through it is the obvious spelling mistakes. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways of identifying any scam email. A trait shared by many of them is that they are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors - as many senders are non-native English speakers. This becomes particularly easy to spot when they purport to be from an official organisation - addresses are often wrong, logos out of kilter, and the layout is amateurish.
Note also that there are no specifics mentioned. It just mentions general adult sites that have supposedly been used, and chastised the recipient for general perversion - yet no examples are provided. That's, of course, because they don't exist. This is a phishing email designed to play on social embarrassment, so it's important to keep a cool head and remain analytical if you receive one.
Then there's the demand of the ransom - because that's what this is. It's essentially a digital form of blackmail, except in this case the blackmailer doesn't actually have any sensitive information to leverage. The payment is requested in bitcoin, which again should tell you that this is a scam, due to the difficulty in tracing bitcoin payments.
So what do you do?
It's important to remember this is just "phishing" - it's a hook in the water waiting to see who will bite. These people have nothing on you and can do nothing to you. Under no circumstances engage with the email. Simply mark it as spam, report it to your email provider, then make sure your anti-virus is up to date just in case.