Due to a recent rise in the number of reported sextortion scams in Cheshire, officers from Cheshire Constabulary’s Cyber Crime Team are asking people to be aware of and report emails threatening to blackmail recipients.
The emails will claim to have caught the reader accessing adult websites and demand a ransom (usually by bank transfer or in Bitcoin) in order to keep the information to themselves.
These types of ‘phishing’ attacks are made more believable because they provide technical details about how this was achieved, and can sometimes also include the individual’s password.
Phishing attacks are designed to play on people’s emotions and pressure them into ‘taking the bait’ and paying the ransom.
What to do if you receive such an email:
- Do not engage with the fraudster – delete the email and report it to Action Fraud: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing.
- Do not be tempted to pay the ransom, doing so will likely encourage more scams.
- Do not worry if the email includes your password; in all likelihood this has been obtained from historic breaches of personal data. You can check if your account has been compromised and get future notifications by visiting: https://haveibeenpwned.com/
- If the email includes a password you still use then change it immediately.
- If you have been the victim of a sextortion scam and have paid the ransom, then report it to Cheshire Police by calling 101.
For more advice and information about staying secure online, visit the National Cyber Security Centre website.
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