Police warn the public about extortion schemes with a twist

Kingston Police have released a warning about extortion schemes occurring over email.

“So, you may or may not visit sensitive websites every now and again. But, what happens when a hacker tries to blackmail you with “proof” of you on a sensitive website?” Kingston Police asked in a release, dated Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2021. “This is a classic case of extortion with a twist.”

How it works

  1. A scammer sends you an email that appears to be sent from your own email address.
  2. In the email, they claim to have compromising content of you.
  3. They demand money – usually cryptocurrency. If you pay the bill, they won’t distribute the compromising content to others.

Kingston Police say the scammer doesn’t actually have the compromising content that they claim. Do not send them money! Either delete the email or if you work for a company or organization follow their reporting procedures.

Tips to avoid extortion

Although the above scam is not real, Kingston Police say legitimate extortion is a serious internet crime that can lead to devastating consequences for victims.

Here are some things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of extortion:

  • Never send compromising images of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are or who they say they are.
  • Don’t open attachments from people you don’t know, and be wary of opening attachments even from those you do know.
  • Turn off and/or cover any web cameras when you are not using them.

Kingston Police remind us to be cautious. “Remember, these attacks are only successful if we fall for them.”

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