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Warning over ‘sextortion’ email scams that claim to have compromising videos of users

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Aussies are being targeted by a sweat-inducing scam email that claims to have filmed users surreptitiously.

Australia's leading consumer watchdog is warning online users to be careful of a new scam circulating that threatens to send "compromising" footage of you to friends and family.

Scamwatch, run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), today issued a warning about the rise of "sextortion" scams.

Sent primarily over email, the scam claims to have hacked the user's phone or computer, accessed their webcam and recorded the user accessing pornographic websites.

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The email then demands payment in Bitcoin – averaging around $750 – as blackmail for the scammers to withhold sending the video to friends and family.

"Have you received an email threatening to send compromising footage of you to your friends and family?" Scamwatch tweeted.

"It's a scam, so don't engage – delete the email and report it to scmwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam."

Subsequent research by internet cybersecurity firm Sophos estimated that between September 2019 and January 31 this year, sextortion scams raised nearly half a million dollars for criminals.

According to Scamwatch, in 2020 alone Australians have lost a staggering $52.9 million to scams.

The most common and profitable scams come from a technique known as "phishing", where scammers pose as legitimate businesses wishing to update personal details.

The most common format for scams is via email, but the most successful scams seemed to be delivered via the phone.

Australians aged over 65 are disproportionately targeted by scammers due to a perceived lack of experience with technology.

Scamwatch encourages users who believe they have been sent a scam to report it using their online tool.

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Users who believe they have become a victim of scam – either by losing money or their identity – should start with the relevant authorities including their bank. A full list can be found here.

For breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the 9News app and set notifications to on at the App Store or Google Play.

You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government"s Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Play and the Government"s WhatsApp channel.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/technology/sextortion-scam-rises-email-claims-to-have-pornographic-video-of-users/f2dd2a21-22fc-48d5-96e5-b0bd908434cc

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