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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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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821 Comments


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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 comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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.

J
September 17, 2021
I received the same email today and reported it to the cyber crime.
Jackson
September 18, 2021
Got the same e-mail, same wording, the amount of money is different, the sender e-mail address and the blockchain address are different. I use the mentioned password a lot, so I gotta change the passwords where I need them and delete a lot of accounts elsewhere.
Missa
September 20, 2021
This same thing happened to me just today. I blocked the sender, reported the email, and deleted the email- permanently. I panicked at first, because I was concerned about my computer being hacked. I do not, however, visit adult sites. The very thought disgusts me. The email they sent it to was my school email, the only one I have, so I was a little concerned. I came across this site, though, and I'm relieved that it wasn't just me. I knew right away, however, that they were trying to blackmail.
Willie
October 11, 2021
I was really worried upon receiving this scam. I did everything to fix this, I scan my computer, alert my contacts not to received email or text from me, report it to FTC and inform the police about it. I was dead worry I delete the message right away! It was so real the way they emphasis their statement. The ransom, the contacts, the camera, and the site that I visit. Thanks everyone for your comments it gave me courage to face this scams
S
October 12, 2021
I have received the same email in my junk folder. Telling me that I have no option but to send bitcoin within 48hrs after opening this email. And I will be checked to see if I don't comply! So Iam told I've been using adult sites and my phone cameras has been hacked and all my information has been taken by him, so if I don't pay up he will send to all my family etc! He has apparently gained access to my email address months ago and put a virus on to watch every thing I do online and will expose it if I don't pay up.. Seems like many more have got this scam in different forms
alaya
October 21, 2021
hi. I literally got this email last week (Oct 2021) and I opened it today. it contained an old password of mine (mail or fb I do not remember) but for sure I was a MINOR the time this password was in use. now I do not know what to do. somebody please help! I was also asked to pay in bitcoin. I'm not from the US. please help!
meowmeow
October 27, 2021

In reply to by alaya

Same boat got hit with the same blackmail yesterday and word for word similar to the other emails except for amount. Asked for 2K+ in bitcoin tho..i am also from Asia so looks like the scam has spread FAR AND WIDE....Just ignore and do not reply .....from the other postings i read they could be persistent n bombard u with a few more emails....just report to the FTC if it makes you fell relieved....I have also reported .......
raf of the east
November 09, 2021

In reply to by meowmeow

got mine today, apparently it's showing it's sent from my own email address asking for 1.8k USD. May i ask how do you report to FTC? i cant seem to find any option on this website to report a scam/extortion.
Someone's otherwise
October 24, 2021
Got that email today Oct. 24 2021. Same one everyone else is posting but they wanted 2000 from me lol. Wonder why mine was much higher than everyone else's..
Don't use your…
November 09, 2021
I have a screenshot of this message
normalcitizen
November 09, 2021
The threat I recieved via email: 'Did u know that it is amazingly easy to access to your device? I am sure that u didn't, cuz if u did, you would close your camera. I think that you do not care about your safety and anonymity, cuz I could to get dirt on you. If u want to to stay a normal man in the eyes of your closest people, you’d better go through the file, it relates to your dirty entertainment.'
Eni
December 03, 2021
Hello! I got this email and i was reallz worried becouse recently happend many things in my life but not really related with what he/she sayz in the email. After my fiance read it again there was nothing u can worry about.I know everyone who gets this starts shaking but calm down, after u read all our coments here u will sleep really tight.
aware senior
December 05, 2021
I try to report as maybe unwanted emails/text as I can BUT there are so many. This latest one for bitcoin comes from my business email address. I may be a senior but I am as aware and as active as I can be over these annoying scams. My business email has been used for many dating sites and I have reported it to the home office of these companies with no support or response. I change the password frequently. One day I hope to catch one of these horrible people (with the help of authorities) in the act and get them the punishment they deserve.
123panic
December 07, 2021
I got one of these emails on an old account thatI happened to checkand have been googling to make sure it's fake. They said they had access to my cameras and stuff and I freaked out glad I found this though older was helpful.
Random12
December 08, 2021
I got the Same email on 28th of November. And I checked it today because it was directly sent to my spam. After seeing that I was so scared and legit panicked. I'm glad to know it's a spam and y'all are here too. Thanks guys
Katie f
December 11, 2021
Happend to me yeaterday, I blocked them and they sent me a emai today saying they know my password (and when I went to change it, they had already changed it so I’m locked out of that email) and they even sent the email from me to me, so do I still just leave it? Or ?
TJ
December 16, 2021
got the same mail from yahoo twice till date (each day one) something new and marked as spam. Asking regarding bitcoin vallet ransom of 1500gbp. These kind of spams are too many in a day. really these people have nothing else to do nowadays, specially after and in these pandemic times.
anonymouse
December 18, 2021
I got the same mail on the 14th of December, but opened it on the 17th. It was in my junk folder and it too said it had hacked and downloaded all my pictures, videos, online information and has videos of me visiting adult websites. It was also written in a weird font. He wanted me to pay 1800 USD to his bitcoin account within 48 hours of opening the mail, and that I shouldn't try contacting my friends or police about it or it'd blackmail me. Unlike many here, it didn't show me a password I had already used or am still using, so that's a relief. I obviously didn't think anything about it, since I've read alot about scammer activity increasing in my country on the news, so I just deleted it. Still, I got a bit nervous anyway.
thanks-to-FTC
December 26, 2021
Thanks to FTC for a clear and straightforward article with comments. I got one of these today, and it scared me for a while until I realized the video couldn't exist. It scared me a lot less after I read the comments with the same text!
eve
December 27, 2021
i literally just received this today word for word, didnt have a password just my email but what in the Black Mirror is this?
skksss
December 30, 2021
I just got one of those emails. They were asking for 5600$ bitcoin money. I reported as pishing and change my passwords.