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Experts warning to beware of sextortion emails

Eye on Scams

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Experts are warning the public about sextortion emails from scammers trying to blackmail recipients into giving them money.

Hackers are getting bolder and smarter and because of this, everyone is at risk of getting a sextortion email. 
“These sextortion emails are really threats that these scammers are using to try to gain access to get these victims to pay money,” Laurian Clause, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said.

The scammers will contact anyone – whether or not you’ve visited pornographic sites. ​​

“They claim that they have footage and coverage and proof so these threats are enough to get these victims to pay money to get these things off of them which is very scary,” explained Clause.

​There are some cases where the victims are targeted because their data was compromised in a major security breach.​ The scammer may have your email, telephone number, and a password.​​

“They won’t have a whole lot of detail about the information that they have or which website you did visit. They just go into very broad sense of ‘I have video, I have the browser,’ but they don’t tell you which browser and things like that so those are red flags,” Clause added.

The Better Business Bureau said these criminals want to be paid in Bitcoin, virtual currency difficult to trace.​​

“People are not wanting their identity and things like that to be compromised in a very embarrassing way so it’s easier to just pay these people off, and scammers know that,” said Clause.​

Some red flags you may notice if you receive one of these sextortion emails include grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and a window of time in which to pay.

Here’s some tips from the Better Business Bureau on how you can protect yourself from sextortion email scams:

  • Search the internet for one or two sentences from the email to confirm it is actually spam. 
  • No matter what the email threatens, do not respond. Make sure you delete the email. ​
  • Do not open attachments or click links in emails from people you do not know.
  • Never send money, buy a gift card or do anything to comply with the demands in the email. 
  • Install security software on your computer with two-factor authentication enabled.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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