The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned that they have seen a number of of reports of online extortion scams during the current “stay-at-home” orders due to the COVID-19 crisis. These scams have been around for a long time but because most of the population is staying at more and using their email and internet to communicate they are seeing an increase in the number of online extortion scams.
The fraudsters are emailing users that they are to release sexually explicit photos and/or videos to friends and family if they do not pay them money. Scammers will adapt their schemes to capitalize on current events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and other high profile new stories.
The FBI warns that many of these emails have similar characteristics. Please read below for just a few of the similarities.
- The email comes from an unknown party and is often written in broken English with grammatical errors.
- Some of the recipient’s personal information (such as a user name or password) is provided in the e-mail or letter to make the threat more intimidating.
- The recipient is accused of something that would put them in a compromising situation if it got out, like visiting adult websites.
You can the whole Press Release from the FBI here.
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