Have you received an unpleasant email demanding payment, perhaps attempting to blackmail you or which includes extortion tactics? Derbyshire Constabulary have issued a warning and the advice is DON'T PAY!
Derbyshire Constabulary’s Cyber Protect Officer Sam Hancock is warning people to be on the look-out for extortion emails which have a dark, blackmail element.
“Extortion emails take varying forms. Most prominently, we see emails that accuse the recipient of having visited adult or illegal websites, and that footage/images have been obtained by having taken control of webcams - usually with a threat to distribute the images, if payment is not made, most commonly demanded in cryptocurrency”, commented Sam.
“More recently, we’ve seen a spate of emails reported containing personal details such as full names, addresses and phone numbers. In all likelihood, the email is purely phishing and is a result of publicly available information. They are hoping you will be frightened in to paying. It's a good reminder that just because someone knows a few details about you, that doesn't mean the communication is legitimate.”
Their advice is...
Don't panic, don’t pay and do not communicate with the criminal.
If you have received such an email, forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre's Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): email@example.com and then simply delete it.
Is your password mentioned?
Do not worry if your password is mentioned. But DO ensure that you change any passwords you recognise, as soon as possible.
Why have I received these emails?
Either the information is publicly available online already, or you may have been involved in a data breach previously.
To check to see if your online accounts have been involved in any historic data breaches, visit www.haveibeenpwned.com
To save you regularly having to check, and to be notified if your accounts are involved in future breaches, click on 'Notify Me' on their website.
Should I pay the ransom?
Quite simply, NO. If you are tempted to pay the ransom, you risk being targeted with future scams as the sender will know they have a 'willing' customer. You may also be targeted with alleged “recovery” scams.
If you've already paid the ransom....
If you have already paid, please report the loss to Action Fraud.
Below is an example of the type of email you may receive...
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).