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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

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

December 28, 2020
28 December Received one of these in my spam folder six days ago Malwarebytes will quarantine it Not sure about Norton or McAfee Thanks for the reassuring info
December 31, 2020
I'm from Australia and got exact same email word for word.....asking for $5300....good to know that this is a scam.
December 31, 2020
I've received this kind of e-mail today, it was a password that as far as I know was from a computer flash games website account that had a data breach around 2-3 years ago. I've changed that password as well as others, just in case, but I don't think there is anything to worry about, as other users say here. Just report the e-mail on the said link above in the article and if you remember where that password is from, change it if you can, that should help prevent any further problems like this.
December 31, 2020
I've received another one, from a different e-mail adress...two in a day, huh? Best thing is, it's the same password as before, but as I mentioned before, I've already changed it to a different one, I've also verified and I can connect to that account using the new password, so it's definetly just a scam and you should ignore it, even better, report it.
January 04, 2021
Received mine today. Not the best way to start a year but I found this page so now I’m relaxed about it. The password on mine is luckily a “dummy” password I used for simple things so likely some random website. I haven’t read anywhere that someone said “and all My contacts received webcam pics of me” so I want to say I don’t think it ever goes anywhere, it’s just a threat. (Or I hope.., although my webcam view would be pretty boring anyway. I’d be more Embarrassed if they had a pic of me picking my nose tho. Ha)
January 04, 2021
I receive exact email too..they hack my facebook account what should I do?
January 04, 2021
I received something similar today. Same sort of wording but no mention of a password that they have hacked.
January 05, 2021
Hi! I’m just curious is there some sort or report we should file when receiving one of these emails or should we just delete it, change our passwords, and move on?
January 05, 2021
It's a scam you guys. Please don't pay anything. Just change your passwords and ignore. I've also received the same email.
January 06, 2021
I had exactly the same email, I was obviously very worried at first as it was an email used when I was around 12 years old?! But after seeing the comments I feel better than it's a hoax haha. From a 'Juan Bulter' cant remember the actual email address but
Lauren W
January 06, 2021
I got the same exact email as people on here twice. It was concerning it had my password and that on one of the emails the sender had the same last name as me. I filed a report.
January 07, 2021
A black mailer sent me an text message that a guy I met online was being taken into custody at an airport in Georgia for having drugs in a luggage. They kept on wanting me to use Bitcoin websites asking me to send money. In the amount of $500. Asking me to send money. I never sent any. The phone number was a not from Georgia either. It was a New York phone number. I refused to be scammed or blackmailed either.
January 07, 2021
I got this today, what an empty threat LOL. I could care less if someone saw me visiting an adult website, I'm old enough to visit adult websites.
January 08, 2021
yup, got the same one. i haven't used that password in a while but i remember an instance of data being breached (on a gov website nonetheless) but i didn't use that password when it happened so it freaked me out. feels reassuring to know it's a very specific phishing e-mail...i actually considered e-mailing them and saying "go ahead no one i know, including family, employers, or landlord, would honestly be that disturbed. i'm the one being exploited for being a human on the internet after all."
January 08, 2021
I got 5 days ago same as these. To pay $4105 via Bitcoin.
February 02, 2021

In reply to by Aashik

Got the same email yesterday (to pay $5433 in Bitcoin) and it did freak me out as it was an old password that they noted but I do not use the password anymore. Started changing many passwords on my accounts, including my email account. Going to continue to change more passwords today and did file a report to the FTC.
January 08, 2021
I received an email from my own gmail email address attempting to "extort" me and demanding payment in bitcoin.
January 25, 2021

In reply to by pennyp

I just got it. Now the going rate has gone up to 6907 bitcoin. It's more annoying than anything else as the password is one I occasionally use so now I have to change everything,
January 18, 2021
I got one of these porn blackmail emails a few days ago, as described in the comments above, from a more greedy one: $5179. He used my password as bait, a simple throwaway password I have used for a lot of nonessential accounts over the years. The scammer said don't bother trying to trace him because he was using a hacked email account. I archived the email in my spam folder, blocked him from future emails, and ran some virus scans that came out clean. What I'm finding online is reassuring. I'm not afraid of porn threats (LOL!), but worried about the threat to other financial accounts. He said he installed a key logger malware, so I was afraid to even change passwords at my computer because it would involve keystrokes. Glad to read here and at other IT sites that my computer wasn't hacked and that many others have gone through this. I use LastPass and will be reviewing all the accounts I've stored there.
Dan M
January 25, 2021
I received the same email today.
January 25, 2021
For me the amount was 4082, think they have something that changes based on percieved "wealth"?
January 27, 2021
I got this email today. First of all and I would recommend this to anyone. I tape up all my cameras when I’m not using them. I know they have nothing on me. And it’s a scam. But if they did. The videos would show nothing. Just a black screen.
My name is——/
January 28, 2021
Just got this email! Freaked out that they somehow hacked into my computer.
January 28, 2021
Lol I got that one today, there's one further down the thread that is EXACTLY the same. Funny thing is, it's one of my kid's passwords from when she was in high school 15 or 16 years ago. These scammers are hilarious.
January 30, 2021
Got the same exact thing yesterday in 2 repeated emails in my spam foldter. First thing I did after reading was to delete it. But I did agonize over it all night until a close friend pointed me to this write up. Password mentioned was one I no longer use. I checked against all known sites where I use a password and saw no instances of it. I was relieved to find out it was bogus...heinous, but bogus. Makes you wonder what better things someone who spends their time devoted to scamming people might be able to apply their minds to.
Curious silent one
January 31, 2021
Has the FCC actually made some arrests and post these arrests to serve as a deterrent???
January 31, 2021
I received the same email today but they demanded $5424. I never visit porn sites so I’m not worried but I did go through some accounts and change my passwords on the side of caution.
January 31, 2021
I opened the same blackmailing email tonight. It had beencaptured in my spam file. It want $6698. I was shook because it knew my current password. But have never been on a porn site so knew it must be spam or phishing or whatever it is called.
February 01, 2021
Got the email last night. Freaked me out because I had never heard of this scam. Found 8 exact same emails in my SPAM account. Would be amusing if it didn't contain that initial bit of personal information, and for us not so computer literate people, that is quite unnerving.
February 01, 2021
I received this exact email yesterday. Being in the nature of my business, I couldn't take the risk. The headline of the email was in fact my password. They threatened I pay $6,000 in bitcoin and would then erase whatever data or Spyware they had on my laptop. I never paid them ... obviously. But this sparked the concern of breach of confidentiality for my clients resulting in me deleting all social media including that current email. I lost everything. Its unfortunate but felt it was needed and justified. Sad that it's come to this. I feel bad for all victims who result in paying these scam artists. The emails are clever and believable.
February 03, 2021
I got scam mail since 15-Jan-2021 until now nothing happens. Sorry, I'm not good at English.
February 04, 2021
I had the same thing happen to me but they asked for $6044 that's a lot of money, but I'm educated now and have changed all my passwords. The password they threatened me with was one from YEARS ago and I don't remember the website I used it with but I know that it's not an important website that they'll be able to uncover personal info on me. I'll do my best to remember though just in case.
February 04, 2021
Every now and then I just browse through my junk folder to laugh at the stupid emails and i saw one like this, it had a password i used for a really old chat room account, they demanded bitcoin and said that they would “expose me for adult content” as well as every contact on every social media platform i use
February 05, 2021
I just received the email yesterday demanding $1400 in 48hrs .
February 05, 2021
Mine didn't have a password attached, but instead had a Google Doc's labeled myname.txt? I didn't click it, but no one else seems to have gotten one of these which is what worries me. I deleted the email but a small part of me can't help but wonder if there was an image or video in the link of me or something with proof. I assume it was nothing since I've gotten the password scam multiple times before. The body of the email was textbook scam language, but still unsettling that it is more unique than usual.
March 04, 2021

In reply to by Fisherman

I got this exact same email last night. No old password, not asking for bitcoin specifically, and a text file attached to the email my name.txt
April 12, 2021

In reply to by Somebody

I got this exact one today! And finally I found someone with the same issue thank goodness. It’s really scary
April 13, 2021

In reply to by Fisherman

I got this same email over the weekend. Body of the text was strange and vague, and then a .txt file that was labeled with my name was attached. I have not opened the file but am extremely curious.
Earth human
August 12, 2021

In reply to by Fisherman

Same email here... received it this morning & it's the second one this year so I decided to report it. Same info... claim of intimidating evidence, no password, vague info, but they DID know my age this time which threw me off.
February 06, 2021
I got the same email! The password they claimed to have is very old & of an account I hardly ever use however I got the email on my active gmail & why did they send it on my other gmail account instead of the account associated with that old password? Should i be concerned? The two accounts are not linked btw.
February 06, 2021
I just got one saying they are going to leak my browser history and videos they have found. Is this all true?
February 07, 2021
I too received such an email having one of my very old password as the subject of the email. They demanded $5200 and said if i don't send this through the bitcoin link, they will expose my video with my friends. I immediately deleted the video and changed my current password too.
February 09, 2021
how do i know which website the password is for to change it?
February 10, 2021
Hi, my email address is exposed to the dark web since 2016. Since then I've been receiving various threatening emails from hackers, asking for money directly or by other forms of phishing. I never clicked their link. But since 2019, hackers directly accessing my email, and keep sending me emails from my email, they include my password in the email each time I change it. The sender's email address shows my email address, and they keep asking for bitcoins, and many things. How can I deal with this? In the last two years, I changed the password more than 10 times, but sooner they get the password and then access my email to write to me.
February 11, 2021
I received a similar email today
February 16, 2021

In reply to by Upset

I got one today at work saying that it captured me through their app on my webcam which one I honestly don’t have a webcam. Two saying I got to pay 1300 in Bitcoin or there’s gonna be consequences. Is there anything to worry about with mine the name on mine was Arlene Gordon.
February 13, 2021
They may have Video/Audio information from Security Systems and WiFi.
Me H
February 16, 2021
I received one of these yesterday in my work email. (2/15/21), so they're still going around. They didn't show me a password (old or new), but wanted me to send $1085 to a BitCoin account. I deleted, blocked, & reported on here. It's crazy (& scary) how these kinds of jerks can call, send emails, & just harass people all the time & get away with it.
February 16, 2021
I just got one today at work. Saying it captured me on their app through my webcam and didn’t elaborate with the details on the how. And said if I don’t pay 1300 in Bitcoin in 96 hours, suffer the consequences. Is this really real? Do I have anything to worry about