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When it comes to the world of online scams, sextortion is one of the most common ones and a threat that’s not going away anytime soon.

What is Sextortion?

It’s a form of blackmail in which a cybercriminal or a former friend or romantic partner tries to extract favors or financial gain from a victim.

Ever since the web became a daily destination for a majority of people, there have been cases of sextortion through the use of webcams, the threat of intimate pictures leaking and hundreds and thousands of victims.

Even though most people exercise caution in sending potentially compromising pictures and videos, sometimes even the best of us could be exposed to sextortion. A recent study of 1,631 victims of sextortion revealed how every online user is, at one point or the other, potentially liable to become a sextortion victim.

This is a typical email that is being circulated around…

Let’s get straight to the point. I do know [redacted] is your password. More importantly, I know about your secret and I have evidence of it. You do not know me and no one hired me to investigate you.

It’s just your misfortune that I stumbled across your misdemeanor. Actually, I actually setup a malware on the adult videos (sex sites) and you visited this web site to experience fun (you know what I mean).  While you were busy watching videos, your browser initiated functioning as a Rdp (Remote desktop) with a keylogger which provided me with access to your display as well as cam. Right after that, my software gathered your entire contacts from fb, and email.

Next, I gave in more hours than I should’ve exploring into your life and created a two screen video. First part shows the video you had been watching and second part shows the capture of your web cam (its you doing nasty things).

Frankly, I am ready to forget exactly about you and allow you to continue with your life. And I am going to offer you two options that will accomplish that. Those two choices either to ignore this letter, or simply pay me $2900. Let’s explore above two options in more details.

Option 1 is to ignore this email. Let’s see what is going to happen if you pick this path. I will definitely send your video recording to your entire contacts including close relatives, coworkers, and so on. It does not shield you from the humiliation your self will feel when relatives and buddies learn your dirty videos from me.

Second Option is to make the payment of $2900. We will name it my “confidentiality tip”. Now let me tell you what happens if you choose this path. Your secret remains your secret. I will destroy the video immediately. You continue on with your daily life like nothing like this ever occurred.

At this point you must be thinking, “Let me call cops”. Let me tell you, I have taken steps in order that this e-mail can’t be linked returning to me plus it will not stop the evidence from destroying your daily life. I am not seeking to steal all your savings. I am just looking to be compensated for my efforts I place into investigating you. Let’s assume you decide to make all this disappear completely and pay me my confidentiality fee. You will make the payment through Bitcoin (if you don’t know this, type “how to buy bitcoins” on google)

Required Amount: $2900
Bitcoin Address to Send to: [redacted]
(It is case sensitive, so copy and paste it)

Tell no person what will you use the Bitcoins for or they will often not give it to you. The task to have bitcoin may take a couple of days so do not wait. I have a special pixel in this e-mail, and now I know that you have read this email. You now have 2 days in order to make the payment. If I don’t receive the BitCoins, I will definitely send out your video recording to all of your contacts including members of your family, co-workers, and so forth. You better come up with an excuse for friends and family before they find out. Nonetheless, if I do get paid, I will destroy the video immediately. It is a non-negotiable offer, thus please don’t waste my time & yours. Your time is running out.

This type of sextortion scam demanding payment in bitcoin is so widespread, it’s unbelievable. Just hours after Reddit officially announced they had a breach, due to the fact that employees relied on SMS-based two-factor authentication, plenty of users found threatening emails in their inbox. Why? The Reddit data breach exposed quite a few old usernames and passwords. Cybercriminals took those passwords to provide some “legitimacy” to their common online scam. Even one of Reddit’s employees received the sextortion message, pointing out the ways cybercriminals try to monetize stolen email databases.

As long as people will continue to have digital lives, sextortion will, in one way or another, remain one of the most common types of online scams. Whether it will come from a known person, after a phishing attack or as part of a spray-and-pray email scam campaign, there’s no question about it, it will happen time and time again.


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