Skip to main content

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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Search Terms

821 Comments

GotTheEmail
September 21, 2020
Just received in my Spam folder the same email as posted in these comments. The email ending up in Spam should have been my first clue. I value privacy a great deal, so any message indicating someone might have access to my information really freaks me out; after a moderate panic attack, I’m relieved to see this is a well known scam. Now I’m off to change every single password I can get to... Thankfully I know better than to pay these people, feel horrible for those who fell for this.
Saify
September 22, 2020
I received two exact emails two weeks ago from 2 different emails, I freaked out but after reading all this I can say my heart is at peace now. Where do I report this. It got to stop!!!
shell60
September 23, 2020
I recieved a similar email on 09/22/20, I was shocked to see they had a password that I was still using as a Windows login password on a laptop, I had used this same password on multiple internet sites in the past but have changed them over the years, not sure if there's it's still hanging around out there or not. The email I recieved followed the script in this blog, but unlike some of the other's I've read it was very well written, precise english grammar. Claimed that they had hacked my computer, taken control of my camera and microphone and video taped me while viewing pornographic material on the internet, they also claimed the gathered all my contacts and would send the video to all of them unless I paid $1700US in bitcoin within 48 hours, eventually posting the video on the internet. They gave some sort of bitcoin address, and instructions on how to find bitcoin and learn to use it on the internet. I won't sit here and say I've never watched porn on the internet, I certainly have, I've done nothing illegal, my laptop does have a camera, so if there is spyware out there that allows these extorsionists to take control of your computers resources then it may be possible they can collect video, I don't know. I deleted the email and have still been worrying about it even though I found this blog.
Gapchy
September 24, 2020
I got one too. I deleted the gmail account and opened a new one. It was in my spam folder. I blocked the person before deleting the account. It was not an important email , one I used when places make you give an email address to look at their site like Wayfair. Anyway, that’s what I did. Mine came from Walker kottkeconstruction1
krakxn
September 24, 2020
I got one a couple of days ago too, I get them every year on my school account saying that they have my password which is my password but I don't use that password anymore and it's identical to everyone else's so this must be one person or multiple copying and pasting and scaring people out of their money like sickos.
Tanya S
September 24, 2020
I received this same email. It gave me anxiety at first and I started downloading virus protection to my phone to make sure that my phone is not actually compromised. Scammers are stupid.
Therry
September 25, 2020
Same here people, got one 8 hours ago, the amount is the only difference.
catface
September 26, 2020
I got the same email yesterday. Turned out he had managed to hack into an old FB account I handn't used in years. I thought I had the account deleted but I guess not. FB has locked the account too so I cannot get in to do anything about it. He's got an old password but he's missed a few things. Bitcoin is not legal in my state, I have duct tape over all my webcams so there's no video of me, and I just got this laptop recently and I bought it used on Ebay so if there is any video from my laptop it's the previous owners . At first glance, getting an email like this is scary but stop and think about it. You'll find the loopholes that they miss.
ConcernedParty
September 28, 2020
I recently got an email and one of my passwords was in the subject bar. The issue is, that password one for a lot of accounts. I know, dumb, but it was simpler that way. What do I if I don't know what which account they are referring to? Or do I just ignore the whole ordeal?
DJ
September 28, 2020
I’ve gotten at least 5 of these emails today! Made the mistake of reading the first one ... ugh! DO NOT OPEN Or READ!
NewportGirl2020
September 28, 2020
Got the same email today, September 28th, 2020. So it’s still going around. I knew immediately it had to be a scam but it still makes the heart race for a minute.
Alex
October 07, 2020
Received same note as everyone else, verbatim. Except they asked for $1013 or something close to that amount. Ruined my morning until I started putting the pieces together and realizing that it must be a scam. Thanks FTC!
ScamCatcherThrowaway
September 30, 2020
i just received this same email, thing is the password he showed me was a password from 8 years ago i mean it was probably one of my first passwords so I'm not really worried but i did receive a 2nd email with a pic attachment.. i didn't open it i just deleted both emails.
Amy23
September 30, 2020
I just got this email today from two different people. Quite scary and I had been searching to see if my phone camera may have been hacked as that is my main device. They sent an old password of mine as well.
lucy
October 01, 2020
I got an email Tuesday & it’s said everything listed above, but they added that they have logged into my Facebook and when I looked , it might’ve been logged into but I don’t think so
ALW
October 07, 2020
For anyone worrying, I got the exact same email word for word last Thursday & ignored it and nothing has happened. Yes it did have a password that I used for everything in the past but no longer use it for most things, changed the last account I used it for now. Nothing to worry about, change your passwords & please don’t send them money!!
October 09, 2020

In reply to by ALW

Yea I also got the email but mine said I have 50 hours and the timer starts when I open the email
scubaman
October 12, 2020

In reply to by ALW

I received the basic e-mail as above and mentioned that it knew i was pleasuring myself and had video of me doing it. Thing is - it came almost immediately after I was dong what it said I was doing. Wanted $ 950 and the e-mail came to my work e-mail which really got me worried. You first think , how did it turn on my video camera and/or how did it know I was doing what it said. Have received it 2 times about a week apart and it gave me week to pay each time .
GG
October 10, 2020
So i got this email yesterday telling me to pay 1000 dollar lol about 1 of my leaked password that was done 3 years ago lol my email is safe now they have nothing to do just updated your password and always check if your email password has been leaked
John
October 12, 2020
I received the same today, could you advise me if anyone got impacted or what I should do?
Pete
October 12, 2020
I got the same exact email quoted in the older comments down below, plus a ton of additional emails from various scammers about similar things. They got my current gmail address and an old password of that gmail account correct. So, there must have been gmail data breach at some point long ago, and they got that information. Fortunately, I had long since changed that password, and I have gmail's second sign in protection, so even if they had my current password, they would still need access to my cell phone to get the pin number for the second sign in procedure. I would personally never pay anyone anything like a ransom. They can email all my contacts and I would not care. But, I would NOT want them to have access to my gmail account because they could get some very sensitive information on my other accounts, like banking, credit cards, etc. So, it is a very good idea to change your password frequently, and to check your email accounts location history to see where it has been signed in recently, just to make sure no one else has access to your account. I think with the second sign in feature, they would have a very difficult time doing much with your password. I need to start changing all my passwords on banking and credit card websites as well. I just have a hard time to keeping track of all these things. I did turn on alerts notifications on my bank and credit card websites so that they alert me by text message and email whenever someone (including me) accesses those accounts or does anything on them. So, if someone started using them, I would know right away be able to shut them down by calling the bank or credit card company immediately.
Melot9
October 13, 2020
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 $1042. 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: 1MbumcLtt2dnUXHfcRpax66P5YToJpUdew [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. I just got one of these emails a few days ago and it was in my spam, I already know it’s a scam and I always have my camera on my computer taped off, and I can also see the green light if or when my camera is being used.... so therefore I don’t know how they would of gotten this “video” and all the contact info from the people that I know. One thing that blows my mind is how they got one of my outdated passwords I haven’t used in a while.
Tetris
October 17, 2020
I got an email similar to this but for some strange reason, it had my name on it instead of any password? Would that mean it was something I used to connect my fb to??? For one thing the "password" is far too short to really be accepted anywhere and for another, I don't use my name in any passwords I've ever used?
RMC
October 17, 2020
I received one of these types of scam emails on 7/20/2020, but just now reading it. It was a relief to come and see it is bogus. I am concerned that they have access to my email account though, since I got an "unusual sign on activity" notice the day before and the same day. I usually ignore these because when I login from gym or somewhere else I get these alerts. I can never figure out how to identify these though, as I use vpn service.
raymond
October 18, 2020
scammer didn't know that while watching porn i used to put gum on the webcam as a precaution
Dazedandconfused
October 18, 2020
I received the same email today, haven't used the password in 10 years at the least. Figured it was a scam.
Prasad
October 21, 2020
I have received the same email with exactly the same wording but for 1042$. I really panicked and am still. Did they contact you guys again, did they do anything that they are claiming because it’s a matter of reputation and many things. What should I do now, should I be worried and I can’t afford to pay that much money. Please someone help me with this issue.
yoyo
October 27, 2020

In reply to by Prasad

Have you received anything else from this email? I just got the same exact email last night.
Chris S
October 30, 2020

In reply to by Prasad

It's literally a phishing email. They have your password (since they typed it in the email) but don't worry about the video/webcam part. That's all talk to get you scared so you pay them bitcoin. I would advise changing your password that was compromised.
D
November 01, 2020

In reply to by Prasad

Don't pay them. I received the same email. I've received multiple asking for different amounts and haven't responded to any. Nothing happens
Ash
November 18, 2020

In reply to by Prasad

Nothing to worry, just use precaution, change password, probably use privacy cover in camera.
ANANAN
November 19, 2020

In reply to by Prasad

Judging by the information on here you do not need to worry about it.
Jimmy
October 22, 2020
Same exact email, word for word on October 2nd. However, I received 2 of them back to back with 2 different names, both in the spam folder. Did nothing.
Livia
October 23, 2020
This happened to me once and although I do not look at these sights I was nervous they could fake it. So I called law enforcement and they said it’s a scam and they cannot access your web camera or say what the emails says. It truly sickening!!
Macka
October 23, 2020
I had the very same email. But they didn't include any old passwords or new ones at that matter. All looked a little suspicious so I tried back saying. (go for it. We all like a good laugh and I haven't had one in while. We all like a little embarrassment now and then. Then asked if he wanted my actual password or a video sent as he must perverted in the first place to do this.. Make videos and watch them. I had 48 hours to send 1400 bitvion. It has now been over a week. I wouldn't worry to much guys. Its all scam. But they do try and they are getti g better. Please be carful to cover your cams haha.
Ugh2020
October 23, 2020
Got one 5 days ago and missed it because it ended up in my spam folder. Dude didn't even give me a time frame to pay and I don't even have a webcam.
Gman
October 23, 2020
I got one that had my phone number and said i have to change my password but they didnt show my password.
Guest
October 23, 2020
I had the exact same thing! what did you end up doing? Pay for it or just leave it? Did the hacker send anyone anything ? - Scared teen
Robin S.
October 25, 2020
I received the same email as everyone else has stated...its now October 2020 & they are still copy & pasting same email. Thanks for all the info...I will report it to the FTC.
Divyanshi
October 28, 2020
I received the same email.
Mar
November 02, 2020

In reply to by Divyanshi

I received the same email today from 3 different people, each demanding a different amount of $. I don’t use the camera on my ipad except to Facetime with my family or ZOOM for business, so I immediately knew it was a scam.
Noone
October 31, 2020
I got a similar one today. It had a subject Business Offer and gave me 48 hours. Freaked me out. Finally got here and had some relief. Can someone tell me if anyone got impacted due to this. Very scary.
Agseam
November 01, 2020
Thank you for posting all the comments. I feel much better now. I have a heart condition and I almost fell to the ground literally when I read that email. I will be reporting it and changing all passwords.
D
November 01, 2020
I've received two of these in the past month. It was confusing because I don't visit adult sites and keep my cam covered. Are these the new version of those weird "women want to meet you" spam emails?
Aspen
November 01, 2020
I just got my first one with a password in it. It's using an email address I haven't used in a decade (same .com though) and the password is missing a few letters/numbers. It's clear they just copy pasted it from somewhere that is posting up data gathered in a breach. Just the usual of threatening to post a video if me watching porn to my friends. Jokes on them, my webcam has black tape over it, I don't watch porn. and there isn't a damn thing on my computer that I wouldn't share with family and friends. Can't blackmail someone who doesn't have skeletons...
Dum
November 02, 2020
I got same msg yesterday, worried for few secs as my (password) was the mail subject. After I read the email, I realised it's typical fraud method with cheesy lines and stuff. Changing the password solves everything, there's no such thing as a malware recording your screen and your camera, and a website having all access to your devices and data simply by just visiting sites. I've seen lot of worried comments on this post so just a heads-up. There was a massive breach few months back, Don't worry just change your password and you good
Bani
December 03, 2020

In reply to by Dum

Hi how can I change my password, can you explain me please, because yesterday I recieved the same email.
Legita
November 02, 2020
How the heck did they know my password though, close but not exactly
me too!
November 12, 2020

In reply to by Legita

I just got one of these, but didn't stress bc my wife got the same email on her work account a couple of months ago. I did get my work email hacked 2-3 weeks ago, and when I opened my password manager, which tracks the dark web, it turned out about 60 of my passwords and logins were on the dark web.
Sveal
November 05, 2020
I got a similar message last month. They gave a very old password that I even forgot. They wanted 1000$ from me. It was a bit scary but the password was so old and I never visited such websites so I just deleted the message.