When people get a threatening message that promises to embarrass them if the scammer doesn’t get what they want, most people are likely to act on these messages due to fear. However, what people don’t know is when they get these messages, these scammers are just spitting out empty threats and won’t actually go through with them. Instead, people give these scammers as much money as they can so that these scary threats don’t end up coming true. This leaves victims bankrupt as they lose thousands of dollars to someone out of fear of something bad happening to them. That’s why it’s important to know the signs of extortion scams and how to prevent these common blackmail scams.
What Are Extortion Scams?
Extortion scammers write threatening messages and send them to you via email, usually claiming they want money or they will go through with their threats. There are a wide variety of threats that scammers often use. One type of threat they use is the sextortion scam, which is where they claim they have video of you watching porn that they accessed through malware and your webcam. They claim that they will leak this video if they don’t get their money. They also use leaked personal information about you, claiming that if you don’t give them what they want they will hack into all your personal accounts.
However, many of these threats are empty threats and are sent to thousands of people daily. Scammers don’t have time to follow through with every threat with every victim they threaten and will usually never follow through with it. To make sure that they can’t follow through with these threats, the first thing you should do is not respond to them. Then, block their email address so that they can’t have any more contact with you. Finally, contact law enforcement if the threats continue and tell your loved ones immediately that you’ve been threatened. Tell them not to open their emails from the scammer so that they can protect their finances.
How to Tell That It’s an Extortion Email
- They threaten you and claim that they will go through with the threats if they don’t get your money.
- The email includes passwords to online accounts that you’ve used in the past.
- They claim that they have access to your webcam and have watched you watch porn.
- The email claims that they know personal information about you that they will leak if they don’t get their money.
- They claim that you only have a day or two to respond or they will go through with their threats.
- The threat contains grammatical and spelling errors.
- The email doesn’t contain proof that they actually have leverage over you.
How to Avoid Extortion Scams
- Block the email immediately and don’t respond to them.
- Report the threats to local law enforcement if they don’t stop.
- Tell your loved ones what is going on so that they can help you and avoid the scammer’s emails.
- Change all account passwords that the scammer claimed they had access to.
- Put a piece of black tape over your webcam to protect your privacy.
- Get an anti-viral program to protect your computer from viruses and malware.
- Avoid websites, such as adult entertainment websites, that contain lots of malware.
- Report any scam to the FTC in order to gain more resources.
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