FORT FRANCES – The Rainy River Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to warn the public of a new extortion scam that is threatening consumers. This scam has already taken place in the Northwest Region. The scam is as follows:
You will receive an email indicating that the sender has a video of you involved in sexually explicit acts and that if you do not pay a fee via bitcoin, the video will be shared with all of your family members, colleagues and friends.
For those who are unaware, Bitcoin is a digital and global money system currency. It allows people to send or receive money across the internet even to someone they don’t know or don’t trust. Money can be exchanged without being linked to a real identity.
The email will further cite a password that you (the victim) currently use or have previously used, as proof that they have hacked your computer while you were visiting a pornographic site and as a result, access to the webcam was gained and all proceedings were recorded. To prevent any humiliation, scammers urge victims to pay a “confidentiality fee” by bitcoin or the video will be shared.
Reporting to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) indicates that this is a scam email attempting to extort consumers into paying the requested ransom and that no actual video exists. Reporting also suggest that the passwords being cited have been obtained from previous data breaches.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
- Change your passwords regularly – especially if you have been involved in a data breach.
- Although not a guarantee, consumers may search their email address to confirm possible involvement in a previous hack or breach: https://haveibeenpwned.com/.
- Keep anti-virus programs updated and run checks routinely.
- Beware of unsolicited emails demanding personal information or immediate payment.
- If you’ve been involved in a data breach, contact the credit bureaus to place fraud alerts on your identity.
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501, or contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122.