The latest email scam: sextortion


Hello Kathryn Tremlett

You don’t know me and you’re thinking why have you received this email right?

It seems that 07********* is your phone number.

Well, I placed malware on the porn website you visited and guess what, while you were watching videos, your web browser acted as a remote desktop and a keylogger which gave me access to your display screen and webcam.

What exactly did I do?
I made a split-screen video. The first part recorded the video you were viewing and the next part recorded your webcam (Yep! It’s you doing nasty things!).

What should you do?

Well, I believe $500 is a fair price for our little secret. Make the payment in Bitcoin (if you don’t know how to do this, search “how to buy bitcoin” in google) and if I don’t get the payment I will send your video to all of your contacts including relatives, coworkers and so forth. You have 24 hours to make the payment (I have a unique pixel within this email message and right now I know that you have read this email)…


Sound familiar?

There's always some inventive scam trying to con you out of money doing the rounds. And this latest trend is particularly colourful. If something like this has landed in your inbox (like it did in mine just a couple of weeks ago) you probably have lots of burning questions like; what video was I watching? When did spammers start advising their targets to use Google as a preferred search engine? And perhaps the most pressing of all, what nasty things was I doing?

In all seriousness though, there is some personally identifiable information in this email: my full name and my correct mobile phone number. As far as I’m aware I haven’t been watching any porn recently but for those who have this, coupled with the personal information in the email could easily be misinterpreted as genuine.

To those of you in this situation here’s some confirmation from an official body that these emails are not genuine, this is just a coincidence and this is a type of extortion.

So what should you do if you find yourself faced with an email like this?

  • Don't pay – This might seem like common sense but actually for anyone who has been watching porn, the thought of having their antics shared across the web is frightening enough to make you want to pay to make it go away. In reality though, it won’t and the criminal masterminds behind such emails will just continue to extort people who take the bait for as long as they can
  • Mark as spam and delete – perhaps your email system does this for you already but if not, maybe it’s a reminder to check your security settings within your email account and run anti-virus/ malware scans to make sure your device is free from the nasties.
  • Report it to Action Fraud – Extortion is a crime and as the national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, Action Fraud want to know about these types of scam so they can prevent others from receiving them. You can make a report here:  https://reporting.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting. Think of it as an easy bit of community service.
  • Contact the Revenge Porn Helpline – If you have paid something or are concerned an email like this is more genuine, contact the helpline for further advice and support phone: 0345 6000 459 email: help@revengepornhelpline.org.uk
  • Carry on loving life!

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