Scams are happening more and more through the internet and e-mail.
Sextortion scams are e-mail-based scams that try to convince potential victims that a cyber criminal has taken full control of your system, has been watching you through your cameras, that they know everything, and that you must pay to keep your privacy safe.
Extortion, and especially “sextortion” emails, are becoming more frequent, and they can be extremely alarming when received. Such emails work by using threats to extort money, evoking intense fear. This type of correspondence comes in many guises and features various elements, but essentially, they work in the same way.
These activities can refer to real-life experience such as cheating on a partner or online behaviors such as visiting porn sites. They are called sextortion scams because there is an element of sexual behavior to them, something which is highlighted by scammers as undesirable and shameful. They usually threaten to expose the victim’s shameful activities to colleagues, friends, and family. Scammers then ask for payment to keep this a secret. But there are some that don’t have sexual elements. Instead, threats of harm are used to extort money. For example, some threaten to harm or kill the victim unless a fee is paid quickly.
Although sextortion scams are not new, they have evolved drastically in the past few years. Historically, victims of such scams were usually young women, typically targeted by someone they dated in real life or met online and who was in possession of private or sexual images of them. More recently, criminals started targeting teens and children and coercing them to send explicit images of themselves, which are traded by criminals. Additionally, there are also sextortion emails sent to private individuals, who have never had any prior contact with their perpetrator. Most ask for payment in cryptocurrency, usually bitcoin. This is a convenient payment option for cybercriminals because bitcoin, as virtual money, has little or no legal regulation across different countries. This makes it a perfect choice for criminal activities.
If you ever receive a sextortion e-mail, here are some steps to protect yourself:
Stay calm: Do not respond to the email or pay any money. Sextortion emails are often empty threats and just spam.
Update your passwords: Change your passwords regularly and use strong, unique passwords for each account to prevent attackers from accessing your data.
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA): 2FA adds an extra layer of security to your accounts, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access.
Keep your devices updated: Regularly update your operating system, antivirus software, and other applications to protect your devices from malware and other threats.
There are many other online scams, here the most common ones.
App Store Scams and Phishing Scams
A majority of internet scams are considered to be “phishing scams.” Phishing scams typically occur when scammers falsify their identity, usually by claiming to represent a legitimate corporation or government agency. They try to entice you into revealing your personal information such as your bank account numbers, Social Security number, passwords or other sensitive data. The goal of phishing e-mail is to get someone to click onto a fake link so personal information can be acquired.
Catfishing is when a person creates a fake online persona or uses someone else’s photographs and personal details to impersonate them in a scam. The goal of catfishing is to initiate a relationship with a victim, build trust, and extract personal information. The motive behind catfishing is often financial, with the catfisher asking for money for a seemingly worthy cause (for example, to help a sick family member). But some catfishers simply enjoy the thrill of fooling their victims. Nearly all catfishing scams happen on social media or online dating sites, where scammers have access to tons of potential victims, with little risk of getting caught. The catfisher, playing upon the victim’s emotions, then convinces their victims to take explicit pictures of themselves or engage in texting with sexually explicit content. After a person sends pictures or texts, the scammer then demands money and threatens to expose especially the young person by sharing the pictures or texts online.
Here’s How To Quickly Identify a Scammer on Social Media
Their messages include a lot of grammar and spelling errors, may use poor spelling, strange and unnatural language, or awkward formatting. Be especially cautious when someone’s claimed background (where they were born, education, etc.) doesn’t match up with how they write.
It’s a brand new social media profile with little content or few friends. The average Facebook user has around 200–250 friends. Regardless of the platform, Iif an account has fewer followers than that or is very new, it could be a scammer.
The profile belongs to someone with whom you thought you were already friends. Scammers create “cloned” profiles to impersonate your friends and contacts.
You receive a random message with a link in it. Never click on links or engage with unsolicited direct messages (DMs). This is how scammers trick you into going to fake websites or downloading malware onto your device.