Scammers are now sending extortion emails with threats to infect victims with coronavirus if payment is not made.
Sextortion scammers have reached a whole new level with their most recent extortion scam email. We have wrote about extortion emails before and they’re all more or less the same: they reveal the victim’s password in the email to get their attention and then proceed to extort them out of at least $2000. However, this time around, they are not only threatening to reveal highly personal information but are also claiming to be able to infect the victim and their family with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Every once in a while, a new extortion email emerges. There’s the typical sextortion email that claims there is a video of the victim watching pornography and it will supposedly be sent to all contacts. There’s one threatening victims with bombs, or claiming that a hitman has been hired to kill them. So it was likely only a matter of time before these scammers decide to threaten users with the coronavirus. However, unfortunately for these scammers, any kind of plausibility goes out the window the moment they mention coronavirus.
Extortion email threatens to infect the victim with coronavirus
The new coronavirus extortion email demands victims pay $4000, as reported by cybersecurity firm Sophos. The email starts off in a way that’s typical for these extortion attempts and reveals the victim’s password. The password is often mentioned in the subject of the email in order to catch the user’s attention, and is also revealed in the first paragraph.
The scammer then proceeds to explain that they know all victim’s passwords, “your whereabouts, what you eat, with whom you talk, every little thing you do in a day”. This would unsurprisingly alarm many users and force them to keep reading. However, the scammer then proceeds to threaten the victim with the coronavirus. If it hasn’t been obvious that this is a scam before, it is now.
“Ι will infect every member οf your family with the CoronaVirus. No matter how smart yοu are, belieνe me, if Ι want to affect, Ι can,” the email states.
The scammers are threatening users with a real-life virus and that is bound to make even the most gullible users suspicious. It goes without saying that the whole “I have your private information” thing is a scam, and the email is a very basic attempt to scam random users.
What to do if you receive an extortion email
If users receive an extortion email, whether it’s about the coronavirus or a supposed video of them watching pornography, they should just ignore it. However, if victims see their password in the email, it may convince them that it’s real. Fortunately, there is an easy explanation why these scammers know legitimate passwords.
These passwords, along with email addresses, are taken from data breaches and leaks. This is why the password exposed in the email is likely an old, no longer used one. So a password mentioned in an extortion email doesn’t mean that the scammers know anything about the victim. It merely means that the password was leaked or stolen in a data breach.
If the password is currently in use, users need to change it immediately on all accounts it’s used for. What a strong password is and how to create one is explained here.