Scammers use sextortion, fake claims to get money from victims

Reporter: Rich Kolko
Published: Updated:
internet predator scam
Credit: WINK News

Imagine getting an email out of the blue from someone who says they have your internet history, and it shows you searching inappropriate websites. Or worse, they say they hacked your camera and have video of you looking at pornographic material.

It’s a scam called sextortion.

The bad guys have your name, maybe your address and date of birth – all information they can find easily on the internet or buy from a cyber hacker.

They will demand money from you to keep quiet but it’s usually an empty threat. They don’t have your internet history or a video, but they do give you a scare.

“Don’t pay!” says Bryan Oglesby of the Better Business Bureau. He says, “This is a great example of where scammers are going to play on your emotions, they are going to claim that you are on a pornographic website and they have video of you on that website and they are going to try and extort money from you.”

If you get this email, here are some red flags:

  • Scammer has no details of the sites you visited.
  • No evidence proving their claims.
  • Demands immediate payment in cryptocurrency or gift cards.
  • The email has spelling or grammatical errors.

This is one of the top scams online because of the fear of embarrassment. Many people pay, even if they’re sure it can’t be true.


BBB Scam Alert update: Beware of sextortion emails

FBI: What is sextortion

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