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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.

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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.

February 17, 2021
I received this threat as well
February 17, 2021
Got one of these today. Different wording same content. Change passwords and then move on!
February 21, 2021
Is there any way of figuring out what password has been hacked. I used the password that had been hacked on many things (not a smart idea but I was stupid)
February 22, 2021
I just received one of these emails yesterday. Thanks for the information
no username
February 23, 2021
Received the very same text as many posted on 22-2-2021 or at least that's when i found it in my Spam folder. The password was one I used in 2006 or so. The guy asked around 1040 USD, I didn't do anything, just erased the email.
February 23, 2021
I got one 4 days ago. I ignored it as it was obviously a scam. However my mom and my sister's account received a suspicious video link from a mutual friend who used to be my ex boyfriend. States: is this you in the video? with what looks like a recent picture from my new house. Note ex is a friend from my old deactivated facebook account 3 years ago.
February 24, 2021
I got the exact same message. The clever thing they do is to worry you by stating a correct password . It makes the scam feel more 'personal' not just generic . One flaw in their 'cunning plan'...they claim to have hacked my webcam...thing is, my pc doesn't have a webcam!
February 24, 2021
Just got this email this morning.
February 25, 2021

In reply to by DAB

Got one today asking me to pay money or else. Exact same message as others have reported.
February 25, 2021
What is the government doing to protect our personal info from repeated hacks? This situation is minor compared to the loss of our SSN and date of birth. It would be another "Year 2000" problem, but is there a way to add digits or characters to our SSN making the old SSN obsolete?
February 25, 2021
February 23, 2021, received a scam email, the anonymous email was asking $650 to be transferred to a bitcoin wallet.
Me 2
February 26, 2021
Got one of these today. Deleted it. The subject line had a name that I recognized as one that I had used on an account a while back in connection with a local news paper online version. I slight panic gave way to some sober analysis, which included my computer not having a camera!
February 27, 2021
I received this email 1/30/2021. It mentioned a password hint rather than an actual password.
February 27, 2021
I got the email with the threat of the porn stuff and to pay Bitcoin, but instead of posting some old password, they only typed out my email address and claimed they had logged in it. Guess that’s the other go-to when they don’t have an old password to threaten with...
September 03, 2021

In reply to by LetsReportTheS…

Yes they said that to me too...but if you use Gmail or most email services.. the amount of warnings you get when someone even attempts to log in is immense
February 27, 2021
Yea got that email too on the 24th. Had me pretty freaked out seeing my PW mentioned in the email. In the process of changing the pw on any site that used it.
February 27, 2021
I got this email yesterday demanding $1500 in Bitcoin within 48 hours. It’s freaky for them to include personal details so I freaked but right away searched to see if it was a scam since it was in my spam email cuz if someone where to hack into my stuff then I would have gotten it in my main email right? Anyways, reported it right away.
March 01, 2021
I just saw a very similar email in my spam today. Like most of you it seems to be an old password that I don’t remember where it was used. The email was from 8 days ago. Are there any cases where they didn’t email again?
Lou Lou
March 01, 2021
I just received one this morning saying they’ll be releasing a video of me doing things if I don’t send them $500 via bitcoin. It said I had 3 days to do so.
March 01, 2021
I got a similar one, apparently yesterday though I just saw it. It contained no passwords at all, and the wording was different but very similar. I was freaked out at first but my instinct was that it was a scam. Especially since, when I thought about it they offered zero proof. Like if they knew my browser history surely they’d prove it with some detail? So that was a sign of a scam for sure. Did a search and found this page.
insert alias here
March 02, 2021
okay so i had a very similar issue to this but the thing that confused me the most is that over the past 2 years ive been getting random login attempts from different sites. then when the message about the sextortion was sent it mentioned that it was able to inject a trojan into my computer through me looking at an email of one of the login attempts, not clicking any links. then from there he claimed he could access the camera on my laptop desktop and phone. but if i didnt pay him the $1500 in BTC he would send the video out and activate the trojan, destroying my computer's. following this i instantly deleted my email and factory reset my laptop. i was in a panicked state but now im pretty sure its just a scam
N. Breau
March 02, 2021
A few times recently they quoted a very old password I haven't used in years, my camera on my device is turned of and I never use web cams. They say they will send video to people on my contacts list, I don't have anyone on my contacts list on my device, I keep that list in paper booklet. Scammer busted!
March 02, 2021
I got a similar email this morning. The scammer did not provide any specifics about me, though. He asked to pay equivalent of 650 EUR to his bitcoin account.
March 03, 2021

In reply to by warrior

Yeah, i got the same thing today, three times, three different e-mail address, not really concerned, but damn, they are desperate.
May 22, 2021

In reply to by Memes

Got the same mail. Again, i'm not concerned about the threat but the access that they may have. Will it invite more trouble if i simply open their mail (not the link) - do they get any further access?
March 02, 2021
I got one threatening to publish videos of me watching videos on "Adult sites". Unfortunately for them, I have never visited any adult sites so it wasn't a very good attempt at blackmail!
March 03, 2021
This happened to me just last night. They sent me this exact email... I didn't really believe it but it made my heart drop for sure.
March 03, 2021
What about emails that are disappearing? I consider them all spam, but lately I have two in mind that keeping disappearing from emails and everything about thatemails. I dont understand or when you report them as spam and get a messages saying it isn't?
March 03, 2021
I got this same email today and it scared me for a little bit but seeing that I wasn't the o ly one makes me feel a little bit better but I am definitely changing my password.
March 03, 2021
I get regular emails saying I have 1 bitcoin worth $40;000 plus on aregularbasis I click on the link and it leads to an application to register for bitcoin how rididiculous
March 04, 2021
I received that email today. They didn’t say they had my password. I changed my password, sent the email to junk, and that’s it. If all holy hell breaks loose, I’ll be sure to post. Otherwise, I’m watching the game.
March 04, 2021
Just got one of these, but no passwords listed. The subject was my real name, so they have some legit info. But how am I supposed to know what exactly was compromised and if actual passwords need to be changed? There's no further detail or proof beyond my name. I'm not concerned about the threats as I have no webcam so there is no footage to be released like they claim, just want to avoid a potential hack. They say they have access to my system and email and contacts but I can't find any actual evidence of this from malware scans and so forth.
March 18, 2021
Hi Even I am receiving such emails. Could you please let me know if this emails can be categorised as Phishing? Thanks.
March 23, 2021
Just got an email myself. Except they didn't use an old password, unlike everyone here, but used my personal email. Just wanted to see if anyone else got something like it. I already deleted the email and changed my password for the email and also signed it out of every other device.
March 30, 2021
I just received a similar email. There is no mention of password. But the hacker is blackmailing me for supposedly having visited porn sites.
March 30, 2021
I got this one today Hello! Í am α hacker who hαs access to yoür operαtíng system. Í αlso have full access to yoür αccoüňt. Í've been wαtchíng yoü for α few months now. The fact ís that yoü were ínfected wíth mαlware throügh αn αdült síte thαt yoü vísíted. Íf yoü are not fαmílíαr wíth thís, Í wíll explαín. Trojαn Vírüs gíves me füll access αnd control over a compüter or other devíce. Thís meαns that Í cαn see everythíng on yoür screen, türn on the camerα and mícrophone, büt yoü do not know aboüt ít. Í αlso have αccess to αll yoür contacts and all yoür correspondence. Why yoür antívírüs díd not detect mαlwαre? αnswer: My malware üses the dríver, Í üpdate íts sígnαtüres every 4 hoürs so that yoür antívírüs ís sílent. Í made α vídeo showíng how yoü satísfy yoürself ín the left half of the screen, αnd ín the ríght half yoü see the vídeo thαt yoü wαtched. Wíth one clíck of the moüse, Í can send thís vídeo to αll yoür emαíls αnd contαcts on socíαl networks. Í cαn αlso post αccess to all yoür e-mαíl correspondence and messengers thαt yoü üse. Íf yoü wαnt to prevent thís, transfer the amoünt of $950(USD) to my β!tcoín address (íf yoü do not know how to do thís, wríte to Google: Büy β!tcoin). My β!tcoín address (βŤC Wαllet) ís: 1M2AWYAyWBqVHzrNaBva3LvMnHvNyRpD2R after receívíng the pαyment, Í wíll delete the vídeo αnd yoü wíll never heαr me αgaín. Í gíve yoü 48 hoürs to pay. Í have α notíce readíng thís letter, and the tímer wíll work when yoü see thís letter. Fílíng a complaínt somewhere does not make sense becaüse thís emaíl cannot be tracked líke my β!tcoín address. Í do not make any místakes. Íf Í fínd thαt yoü hαve shared thís message wíth someone else, the vídeo wíll be ímmedíαtely dístríbüted. Best regards!
July 16, 2021

In reply to by Scott2021Don't…

I received the same exact email. I reported it to the fbi and ignored it because i do not have a laptop therefore, im not sure how they can so call access my keyboard, microphone and camera. I called the fbi and they told me to report it on there website, call IT and call your cellphone provider so they can delete any virus.
March 30, 2021
I received the same email demanding same bitcoin payment and I ignored it for now and search web first to check
April 01, 2021
I got an email demanding 1299 usd and said I will provide you 48 hours to transfer to account ort everyone will know about your dark secrets. it was a letter as an attachment
April 01, 2021
I received a email that disappeared says they have control of my system. Wish I could post it on here.
April 01, 2021
I received a email that disappeared says they have control of my system. Wish I could post it on here.
April 07, 2021
Got the same email today. Word to word. Was asked to send $1769!
April 10, 2021
I got one today with similar contents.
April 10, 2021
Got the email on April 6 2021 it went to my spam account and just saw it. Received from a jerry bell. The email stated that I was watching porn and he was going to release a video of me watching it if I didn’t pay $2887 to his Bitcoin account. It also included an old password I use to use. I have completed a report. I hope people do not get scammed by this.
April 13, 2021

In reply to by MeganB

I got one also a couple of days ago. It was in my spam folder. I read it but didn't notice a password reference. Said I had 48 hours and to pay $1,000 to bit coin. I deleted the email before thinking of reporting it. I've been freaked out for a couple of days now but feel better after reading all these comments!
April 20, 2021

In reply to by MeganB

yes I got a similar one! they were very descriptive and scary! really hoping it’s nothing!
April 13, 2021
I received this same exact email April 2021. They asked me the same thing to pay $1700 in bitcoin or else.... It was a very old password from some shopping website
April 13, 2021
I received this exact email three days ago and was panicked. After calming down some, I started researching and came upon this site. Thanks everyone for your input. I did report it to the authorities so they can at least track what is going on. The upside was that it forced me to clean up my passwords.
April 13, 2021
Received an email from someone stating that they were watching me for quite some time. The subject of the email was my full name. The hacker said that they had personal video of me that was taken from the camera on my device. There was a text file attached that was titled my full name and stated to send money to a given crypto wallet. They said I had 96 hours or they would send the vid to friends and family. I'm too broke to pay.
April 20, 2021

In reply to by anon

I received this today too. Was told by multiple people that it’s just a scam and to delete it