A new type of sextortion email scam has been noticed and it’s threatening to expose users’ nude videos.
We have reported on sextortion email scams before but while this one retains its main threat, it uses a new technique to threaten victims. The email users receive threatens to reveal nude videos, which were supposedly filmed via users’ cellphone camera. This is a typical threat in these sextortion scams, although crooks usually claim the video was made via webcam. This scam not only claims that a video was filmed using a user’s phone camera but also that they have been watched via surveillance cameras.
Scammers claim to have monitored the victim for 11 months
Interestingly enough, the email provides an email address and a password to access “proof” that hackers have indeed been watching users. Users are instructed to login into the email account and read the email with the subject tagged “READ ME”. The email contains a link that leads to a website displaying a live feed from Nest cameras in public places. The same site also displays a video of a static screen with “Connection lost” displayed in the middle. The video is supposedly live feed from the user’s phone but the connection has been lost.
To scare users further, scammers reveal that they have been monitoring them for 11 months, recording everything they had done. They provide a nonsense explanation about how victims’ phones have also infected other devices and this allows them to monitor the victims via surveillance cameras in public place.
“Our virus goes live at intervals to transmit feed from any of the other devices which your cell phone infected so it can infect some more devices. During this period we lose visual of the live feed from your cell phone and when this happens we can triangulate the signal from your cell phone and we always know where you are,” is the explanation given in the site.
The worst is saved for last, and in typical sextortion email scam fashion, scammers reveal that they have a nude video of the victim and intend to publish it on various pornography and other websites. Supposedly, the video is already being uploaded and the victim has a week to prevent its publication. Victims are given an email address and are asked to contact the scammers to find out what they need to do.
Sextortion scam demands €500 to not post nude video
Victims who send an email to the provided address receive an email login and a password. If they log in, they finally receive instructions. Users are asked to pay, although the sum requested seems to vary. It’s either €500 in Bitcoins or $600 in gift cards. Instructions on how to obtain both are provided.
For users unfamiliar with sextortion scams or email scams in general, this may seem like a legitimate thing. However, after reading absurd claims about hacked phones and surveillance cameras, users should quickly realize that this is a scam. We should mention that this sextortion scam also appeared at a convenient time. Near the end of 2019, news outlets started reporting about hacked Ring cameras. Hackers gained access to cameras installed in people’s homes and started talking to homeowners and their children. In a particularly worrying incident, a hacker talked to an 8-year-old girl in hew room while she was alone. With such incidents in the news, it would not be surprising if it worked to the scammers’ advantage and succeeded in convincing users that the scam is legitimate.
Sextortion scam emails have seen varying levels of success, but it’s safe to say they are nowhere near being gone. More and more sophisticated attempts will likely appear in the future.