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The FTC uses the information it gets from people who report scams to keep close watch on trends, so we can alert you to changes. Here’s one: reports of Bitcoin blackmail scams have taken a big jump in the last few weeks. The emails say they hacked into your computer and recorded you visiting adult websites. They threaten to distribute the video to your friends and family within hours, unless you pay into their Bitcoin account. Stop. Don’t pay anything. Delete the message. It’s a scam.

Based on the timing of this spike, you may get one of these messages because your email was exposed in a recent data breach. The scammers may say they have access to your computer or webcam, or installed clever software to defeat you. That’s all talk. But they may really know one of your old – or recent – passwords, and they include it in the message to prove it. When you see that, you know it’s time to update your password on that account, and consider updating other passwords, too.

If you, or someone you know, get a message like this, please report it to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint.

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821 Comments

vt_yeti (not verified)
April 29, 2020
I have been getting these periodically since October 2018. I traced the password they had to an account I used only for a couple of weeks in 2006(!) on the job posting website Monster.com. That is the only account in which I used the password the scammers had. I had to laugh--each time I received the email threat to send their alleged video to my contact list if I didn't pay up, the amount of the "ransom" was smaller!
AhLoh (not verified)
May 14, 2020

In reply to by vt_yeti (not verified)

Today, May 14, 2020, I received a scam to pay Bitcon in the amount of $2000 within one hour; otherwise, it will publish my purported porn. It had one my passwords, which meant this password of mine had been exposed. Will change password of website and email, and had deleted the fraud email by "Mono".
Dan Armstrong (not verified)
June 09, 2020

In reply to by AhLoh (not verified)

I got the same one today, but 24 hours to comply. Filed FTC report. The password they had is a very old one and I make new passwords up all the time. For anyone who is reading this thread, It's a good idea to change your passwords regularly if you don't already.
Laura S (not verified)
September 09, 2020

In reply to by Dan Armstrong (not verified)

I got the same one yesterday. What is an FTC report? I forwarded to Comcast's Abuse@ comcast.
MoeA (not verified)
August 04, 2020

In reply to by Dan Armstrong (not verified)

I also got an email today stating the same thing. I know ( Password)is one of your password on day of hack.. Lets get directly to the point. Not one person has paid me to check about you. You do not know me and you're probably thinking why you are getting this email? in fact, i actually placed a malware on the adult vids (adult porn) website and you know what, you visited this site to experience fun (you know what i mean). When you were viewing videos, your browser started out operating as a RDP having a key logger which provided me with accessibility to your display and web cam. immediately after that, my malware obtained every one of your contacts from your Messenger, FB, as well as email account. after that i created a double-screen video. 1st part shows the video you were viewing (you have a nice taste omg), and 2nd part displays the recording of your cam, and its you. Best solution would be to pay me $1082. We are going to refer to it as a donation. in this situation, i most certainly will without delay remove your video. My -BTC -address: 1JFYdq9QQJYUih6YmP2aHtU82RkLewHZ5Q [case SeNSiTiVe, copy & paste it] You could go on your life like this never happened and you will not ever hear back again from me. You'll make the payment via Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search 'how to buy bitcoin' in Google). if you are planning on going to the law, surely, this e-mail can not be traced back to me, because it's hacked too. I have taken care of my actions. i am not looking to ask you for a lot, i simply want to be paid. if i do not receive the bitcoin;, i definitely will send out your video recording to all of your contacts including friends and family, co-workers, and so on. Nevertheless, if i do get paid, i will destroy the recording immediately. If you need proof, reply with Yeah then i will send out your video recording to your 8 friends. it's a nonnegotiable offer and thus please don't waste mine time & yours by replying to this message. What should file a complaint under? Please advise..
johnson (not verified)
August 07, 2020

In reply to by MoeA (not verified)

I got this as well. Looks like the hackers get people's passwords by simply searching any of the numerous data breach databases available on criminal forums. I panicked at first but being in IT I read the entire email and it seemed very suspicious obviously including the wording used. I changed all my accounts using the password that was compromised. I know (password) is one of your password on day of hack.. Lets get directly to the point. Not one person has paid me to check about you. You do not know me and you're probably thinking why you are getting this email? in fact, i actually placed a malware on the adult vids (adult porn) website and you know what, you visited this site to experience fun (you know what i mean). When you were viewing videos, your browser started out operating as a RDP having a key logger which provided me with accessibility to your display and web cam. immediately after that, my malware obtained every one of your contacts from your Messenger, FB, as well as email account. after that i created a double-screen video. 1st part shows the video you were viewing (you have a nice taste omg), and 2nd part displays the recording of your cam, and its you. Best solution would be to pay me $1050. We are going to refer to it as a donation. in this situation, i most certainly will without delay remove your video. My -BTC -address: 14GYvZHr5dCoVLK3jqW98zFeT5AVBpWsBG [case SeNSiTiVe, copy & paste it] You could go on your life like this never happened and you will not ever hear back again from me. You'll make the payment via Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search 'how to buy bitcoin' in Google). if you are planning on going to the law, surely, this e-mail can not be traced back to me, because it's hacked too. I have taken care of my actions. i am not looking to ask you for a lot, i simply want to be paid. if i do not receive the bitcoin;, i definitely will send out your video recording to all of your contacts including friends and family, co-workers, and so on. Nevertheless, if i do get paid, i will destroy the recording immediately. If you need proof, reply with Yeah then i will send out your video recording to your 8 friends. it's a nonnegotiable offer and thus please don't waste mine time & yours by replying to this message.
Samelol (not verified)
September 14, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

Got this also. I knew it was not true because 1. I don't visit porn sites and 2. I don't have a webcam. Concerning they got an old password, but it appears to be an old forum password as I use much more secure PWs for email and all other important accounts.
username (not verified)
September 17, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

I got this email twice today, from two different email addresses. I'm not worried because I never visited porn websites, LOL. Better luck next time suckers
nido21 (not verified)
February 27, 2021

In reply to by username (not verified)

Same. At first I was worried that they knew an old password but when I read the email, I was like.. joke's on you, I never visited such a site. Plus the webcam on my computer is covered, LOL. Deleted the spam.
JB0020 (not verified)
September 21, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

I got the same email today. But the password they tried to show me.... I don't know where or if I've ever used that one anywhere? Is there somewhere I can go to see where I would have ever used that password?
Twe (not verified)
September 29, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

Hey please tell what happened did you send the money did any harm come upon you afterwards ? Because i recieved the exact same email i am so panicked right now please someone help !
Dean ambrose (not verified)
October 09, 2020

In reply to by Twe (not verified)

Yeah I also got the same mail what u guys do is it safe or is it really a problem
Pasley69 (not verified)
July 15, 2021

In reply to by Dean ambrose (not verified)

I have received these. I figure if it was real the scammer would include an example of my 'embarrassing' data to induce a bit of serious panic. Not that I have anything to hide (sigh). Personally I'm more worried about identity theft.
noleander (not verified)
November 02, 2020

In reply to by Twe (not verified)

In 99.9% of the cases, these emails are empty threats. They do not have any video; they do not have access to your computer. They simply got access to some leaked database that contained your email address and some old password. Suggested course of action is to pay nothing and to change all your passwords. The odds of them actually having any photos or video is miniscule.
Ding (not verified)
November 06, 2020

In reply to by Twe (not verified)

No, please do not worry. It is a completely fake one and nothing is recorded.
BananaBanana (not verified)
November 13, 2020

In reply to by Twe (not verified)

I’ve had 3 of these now. All the same script based on an old Dropbox password. Ignored them all and nothing happens. Don’t give them money, they have nothing! Just do a password audit if you’re worried.
A9nh (not verified)
November 22, 2020

In reply to by Twe (not verified)

hey i also receive this kind of spam email ... just going through some anxiety about this... getting the same type of spam but just different kind of btc account... so anyone can you address what i need to do and not do also how to find the account if i do not use either
AnotherOne (not verified)
October 02, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

Received same email Tuesday September 29 2020. Password quoted was something I used for many unimportant things. I won't use it in future. Have reported to FTC for what it is worth.
Tetris (not verified)
October 17, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

I got this email and it said my name was a password that they had and I was so confused because I'm not dumb enough to use my name for a password which just made the email really weird for me... I'm trying to go through everything to see what it could've been but idk...
CSD (not verified)
October 17, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

So I got the same email today about 7 hours ago, just curious what you did about it. I was pretty freaked out, still am a bit to be fair. I do know that it has to be bs since I don't actually have a webcam, none of my pcs ever did. But still, it's something that I would like to see tied up so I can safely move on. Any suggestions?
victim (not verified)
October 22, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

I got exactly the same thing letter by letter except for the amount It was 1040 instead of 1082 My goodness
Eleanor (not verified)
December 10, 2020

In reply to by victim (not verified)

Had the same email. Word for word too, except they asked for $4481! An odd amount.. Nonetheless I have also reported the email on here, blocked and deleted it.
thepcwiz101 (not verified)
November 16, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

i had the same email appear for me. it actually had a password i used to have linked to a bunch of accounts that didn't appear when checking for compromised passwords.
Rain (not verified)
December 26, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

I received the same exact email on 29/11/2020, did they contact you again? Kinda panicking here
Someone (not verified)
December 27, 2020

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

I know ..... is one of your password on day of hack.. Lets get directly to the point. Not one person has paid me to check about you. You do not know me and you're probably thinking why you are getting this email? in fact, i actually placed a malware on the adult vids (adult porn) website and you know what, you visited this site to experience fun (you know what i mean). When you were viewing videos, your browser started out operating as a RDP having a key logger which provided me with accessibility to your display and web cam. immediately after that, my malware obtained every one of your contacts from your Messenger, FB, as well as email account. after that i created a double-screen video. 1st part shows the video you were viewing (you have a nice taste omg), and 2nd part displays the recording of your cam, and its you. Best solution would be to pay me $5369. We are going to refer to it as a donation. in this situation, i most certainly will without delay remove your video. My -BTC -address: 1Dyz2vuvqyBXtkbFvQmPAqd7ZLy2v58stE [case SeNSiTiVe, copy & paste it] You could go on your life like this never happened and you will not ever hear back again from me. You'll make the payment via Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search 'how to buy bitcoin' in Google). if you are planning on going to the law, surely, this e-mail can not be traced back to me, because it's hacked too. I have taken care of my actions. i am not looking to ask you for a lot, i simply want to be paid. if i do not receive the bitcoin;, i definitely will send out your video recording to all of your contacts including friends and family, co-workers, and so on. Nevertheless, if i do get paid, i will destroy the recording immediately. If you need proof, reply with Yeah then i will send out your video recording to your 8 friends. it's a nonnegotiable offer and thus please don't waste mine time & yours by replying to this message.
Derpe (not verified)
January 30, 2021

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

I got this on my schools mail which i only used on my pc, and I don’t have a camera. Funniest thing is i never use my school mail on my phone where i usually go to the adult stuff
JH (not verified)
April 27, 2021

In reply to by johnson (not verified)

I just received this exact email verbatim. Thanks for posting this. People are so trifling.
Rdlo (not verified)
August 09, 2020

In reply to by MoeA (not verified)

same here, i got one with the exact amount and everything
i got the same email (not verified)
August 15, 2020

In reply to by Rdlo (not verified)

i got this same email today, the exact same sentences, but asking for $1015
Gwen (not verified)
September 16, 2020

In reply to by Lady (not verified)

I received the exact same email, yesterday. I recognised the password as one my husband used regularly but he died more than 3 years ago. Still, it’s very scary to receive something like this. I spent the day going through all of my most important passwords which probably needed to be done as I’m very lazy about such things. Thank goodness for these kind of sites we can check and report to.
Tuss (not verified)
August 10, 2020

In reply to by MoeA (not verified)

i recently just received that same exact spam email acouple days ago.
Cass (not verified)
August 11, 2020

In reply to by MoeA (not verified)

I received this exact same email! Pretty much word for word! What did you end up doing???? I had a small panic attack when i first saw it
Lapu (not verified)
August 17, 2020

In reply to by Cass (not verified)

Got the exact same one word for word. Just reported it. Same situation and very grateful people took the time to write this up and inform the public on where to report it. Just imagine all the people who freak out and just respond with the demands in haste.
LASC (not verified)
August 18, 2020

In reply to by Cass (not verified)

I also panicked but It was exactly word for word as yours
Prettiboi (not verified)
August 22, 2020

In reply to by Cass (not verified)

Yeah i had one too, btw i remembered that i only watch comics sooo
me too! (not verified)
November 12, 2020

In reply to by Prettiboi (not verified)

All I ever do is watch "comics" also LOL
Wings (not verified)
August 13, 2020

In reply to by MoeA (not verified)

I got the same email a few days ago. At first I freaked out because the password was something I had used before but then I went to search about this because my parents are very serious when it comes to online security. And then saw it was happening to other people. I checked all my passwords to make sure I wasn’t using that one in specific anymore even though I was almost sure and changed a few just in case. One thing I would recommend to anyone receiving this type of emails is to check for old mails like verifications of some website accounts. I say this because sometimes we leave “ghost” accounts on several places that can have the same password and some personal information. If you aren’t using them, best to delete the accounts.
Ritz (not verified)
August 15, 2020

In reply to by MoeA (not verified)

I got the same exact email. Word by word demanding 1000$ in bitcoins . I filed a complaint under other stating i was contacted on email.
Sionna (not verified)
August 18, 2020

In reply to by MoeA (not verified)

I received the same email four days back and I am ignoring it. I updated all my app's password and I know nothing will happen. Fun part is I am a cyber crime attorney and I am getting this phising mails.
bash (not verified)
April 09, 2021

In reply to by Sionna (not verified)

Hello Sionna I received an email in my junk mail threatening that if I didn't send 1000 something dollars US money to their Bitcoin then they will send pictures or whatever to my contacts lol I believed it at first but then I came across this website and now I believe it is bogus and I will ignore it but I have changed my email password, hope that will help me.
ES1907 (not verified)
August 21, 2020

In reply to by MoeA (not verified)

I got the exact same email word for word on August 15th.
Feelingattacked4 (not verified)
August 22, 2020

In reply to by ES1907 (not verified)

I got the same exact email word for word on 8/20...
KSawPhotographer (not verified)
August 24, 2020

In reply to by ES1907 (not verified)

I've received two in the last two week! I haven't used that password in YEARS.