There’s a new scam going around that would terrify most people if it ever landed in their inbox. About a year ago I received one of these email scams, and it shook me. I freaked out when I received it. I was literally shaking, I got light-headed, I felt nauseous. 

Here’s the run down of the scam:

The emails are slightly different, but they all have a few similar features:

1) The subject line includes a password that you probably have used at some point.

2) The sender says they have used that password to hack your computer, install malware, and record video of you through your webcam.

3) They say they will release the videos to your contact list unless you send them bitcoin, usually $1,200 or $1,600 worth.

HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN:

Passwords have been included in one of the big leaks in the past few years — databases have been stolen from LinkedIn, Yahoo, and eBay, for example. 

You can check whether your password is in one of these leaked databases over at the website Have I Been Pwned.

The attackers don’t actually have video of you, or access to your contacts. And they cannot install malicious code on your computer. In reality, they have found your password from a database that’s available online, and then try the scheme above to hope that you are so terrified, you will believe their story and send them money. 

This is a profitable scam. I have read that some scammers have made over $50,000 from this blackmail scheme. 

KEEP YOURSELF SAFE

1) Use long and strong passwords

2) Ensure each account has a unique password

3) Use two-factor authentication on your accounts.

4) Cover your web camera with tape or a sticky note so that people cannot access your webcam. I was once watching tv and noticed that my camera was suddenly activated – so it happens! 

By doing these four things, you can protect yourself and your passwords. And remember, no matter what you do, don’t send money to the scammers. 

Check out my video about this scam here! And while you are on Youtube, subscribe to my channel!