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Online blackmail is happening more frequently these days, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
The IC3 reports an increase in extortion attempts received via email and postal mail, often using the victim’s specific user information to add authenticity. The “recipient’s personal information is noted in the email or letter to add a higher degree of intimidation to the scam. For example, a recipient’s user name or password is provided at the beginning of the email or letter,” the FBI reports.
Often, the recipient of these blackmail attempts is accused of visiting adult websites, cheating on a spouse or being involved in other compromising situations. The extortionist threatens to share compromising information with a spouse, co-workers or others unless a ransom is paid, usually in difficult to trace bitcoin.
How Can You Protect Yourself? Tips from the FBI
How to Report a Crime
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, you should reach out to your local FBI field office and file a complaint with the IC3 at www.ic3.gov. Please provide any relevant information in your complaint, including the extortion email with header information and bitcoin address if available.
Click here to learn about our services for victims of cyber harassment or online blackmail.
MORE FROM THE DFC BLOG:
Fighting Cyber Harassment and Online Extortion
New Means of Protection Against Ransomware
DISCLAIMER: This blog is designed for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Further, your use of this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship. Online readers should not act upon any information presented on this blog without first seeking professional legal counsel. Legal advice cannot be provided without full consideration of all relevant information relating to one’s individual situation. For specific, technical, or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author. The author apologizes for any factual or other errors in this blog. If you believe that some content is inaccurate, false, disparaging, slanderous, libelous, or defamatory, please contact the author directly at (StevenG.@digitalforensics.com). Information herein is provided on an “as is” or “as available” basis; we make no warranty of any kind to you regarding the information provided and disclaim any liability for damages from use of the blog or its content.
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