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Scam emails demand Bitcoin, threaten blackmail

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The FTC uses the information it gets from people who report scams to keep close watch on trends, so we can alert you to changes. Here’s one: reports of Bitcoin blackmail scams have taken a big jump in the last few weeks. The emails say they hacked into your computer and recorded you visiting adult websites. They threaten to distribute the video to your friends and family within hours, unless you pay into their Bitcoin account. Stop. Don’t pay anything. Delete the message. It’s a scam.

Based on the timing of this spike, you may get one of these messages because your email was exposed in a recent data breach. The scammers may say they have access to your computer or webcam, or installed clever software to defeat you. That’s all talk. But they may really know one of your old – or recent – passwords, and they include it in the message to prove it. When you see that, you know it’s time to update your password on that account, and consider updating other passwords, too.

If you, or someone you know, get a message like this, please report it to the FTC at

Scam Tags:  Phishing Scams


Got the same email yesterday. First shock was to see my password out there in clear text. Found two sites where still using it. Dug deeper into my memory, and I could remember using the same on LinkedIn many years ago; which I changed immediately back then, when they had the leak (but never bothered at that time to check if I also used it on any other site). So, I'm pretty sure that's were they must have gotten it.

I freaked quite a bit (and not necc due to their direct threats of releasing webcam shots they claimed they had), but I figured that on one of the 2 sites where my passwd was still current, I had my physical home address and cc details saved (as it is a books & gifts shop and have ordered from them).

I freaked out real bad as they demonstrated they had one of my passwords, and clearly had my email too since they wrote to me.

Moral of the story, never again use the same pass on more than one site, and always use 2FA at least on those sites where you'd have more sensitive data saved (addr, cc).

As I slowly began to relax a bit, I realized worse came to shove, he could've figured out the one other site where this same pass would've fit and ordered a ton of books from it on my tab. But hey, then at least he might have get himself educated into a skill, get a job, get a life and hopefully stop spewing sleazy threats trying to trap honest-working people and depart them from their hard earn buck.

I still did file a complaint though. Even if I normally receive other spam too, but none has asked for $2000 (or any other amount for that matter). And none has rattled saber by showing they got a password that I once used. Guess they had to come up with some use to all those leaked passwords after all.

And the attitude in the threats, that's just so horrible and low; he assumes people have moral issues or struggles and he could just go ahead and extort them based on that, while in reality this very fact only exposes how debased his own mind is. Hope they'll all get found out eventually.

Thank you FTC for your service!

I have received 4 of these e-mails with an old password in subject line. All are the same message but from different people. I reported them to FTC. Very annoying since they did have a password.

I received one of these threat scams. They used a password that I only use for an old account in a Central American country that I have not used for a long time. I appreciate the information about this and will delete and ignore.

Got mine today asking for $2000, I sent mine to the FTC like you all have. "They" had a very old password. I managed to copy and paste the whole email per the comments section. I would love if the government could track them down. Time to change all my passwords again.

I record an email to pay bitcoin or they were going to expose some weird porn of myself. Have no idea who or what this is but, I was told to report it. It came from a rowland but, doesn’t show email address

Today I got an email that my gmail account has been hacked. And the hacker will leak videos so in order to stop it. He asked me to pay $987 bit coin with in 48 hours otherwise the reslt wud be harsh.
They threatened me by introducing me with my old passwrd..
What shud I do ?

I have received 2 such emails with the same mentioned criteria in the last 2 weeks on 2 different often used email address and one was a female claiming the adult info and the second as a male claiming the same info in different wording I highlighted and copied the wording and saved that to a word pad and when doing this every first letter in the message changed to a small box in saving I do not believe that I infected my PC but found it strange that each character changed to a small box in word pad

Received one of these today. These guys try to act pretty scary. Hoping people don’t fall for this.

I received this as well and I only used the password in a couple of places- hotel loyalty programs and LinkedIn. Update your passwords especially for LinkedIn!

Just got one of these today...telling me a password I haven't used in YEARS. It's sad and pathetic and these folks deserve to go to jail for trying to rip people off.

I just got one of these emails - seeing my old password in the subject line really gave me a start, but, among other things, I don't have a webcam. They wanted 2000 in bitcoin - ha! Like I'm going to figure out how to buy bitcoin. I was very grateful to find this website and discussion, and I just finished filing a report.

I got one of these emails tonight, and it contained a password I haven’t used for years. It was a password I used for EVERYTHING before I got smart and started changing all passwords to random sequences of letters and numbers. Because it is such an old password I figured it was a scam and deleted the email, but then went online to find information about this scam. I told my family about the scam, so they will know to just delete it.

I received one of those SPAM emails (from Hasty nnsirv@ ) with an old pass and claiming to have access to my webcam and in possession of sensitive video/data. The individual threatens to disclose to all my contacts in FB if I don't pay US$2,000 in bitcoin. Clearly, it is a SPAM but it is freaky to see an old pw by unknown individuals. The IP from the header pointed to a location in New York but it could have been originated from somewhere else. I filed a FTC complain and forward a copy of the email to spam@ uce. gov

I have just received the email asking for $2000 in bitcoin coins. They have my password. This is very worrying

I have a received and an email extortion that have a partial of one of my old passwords. They claim that they took a video on me and they will release it to my facebook contacts if i don't pay them $2000 USD via bitcoin in the next 24 hours or my life will be hell. Not sure what to do.

Don’t do ANYTHING! They don’t have anything real. It’s a scam.

Got a letter from email no address name Sherwood threatening that he has my password and demanding money to be sent or he would make my life a living hell and I must send money with this info

I received two of these emails from different names in the last week. Both emails have similar messages, but variations in wording on each threat. I did find it shocking to see an old email password displayed. I remember the email breach reported years ago and recognized that this password may live on old websites, but not the ones I use regularly. I did update all my passwords and did report the emails on the FTC site.

I just received a similar email, and reported to FTC/Complaint.

Just got the same thing this morning. Using one of my passwords as the subject line, and stating that they accessed my computer through an adult site, and malware. They said that they have video that they are going to send to 3 of my contacts if I don't pay them $2000 bitcoin within 24 hours of clicking on the email. They said that the video was from accessing my web cam while on an adult site, and they said if you want proof, reply and ask and they will send it to 3 contacts. This was the first that I've received from them, but I'm sure I will get another tomorrow.

I guess 2k bitcoin is the going rate... Sounds like you & I have the same pen pal!! eMailed to me today, showing an old password, porn shame, all of it. I was so freaked out I just deleted it. It was in my spam folder. Sooo happy I Googled it & found this site at the top of the search results. SUCH a relief!

I am also in the same boat as you! I got the email on 5/13/20 demanding the same things! So happy I found this website!

After reading all these posts, I figured it out that they got my information from sports website. Immediately changed the password and will contact fanatics tomorrow and complain about not notifying me about their security breach.

I received the same email today, May 13th. They did have an old password that I no longer use. I updated all of my other passwords just to be safe.

I received my first email 5/13/20 and immediately reported this blackmail. I will not respond to any of them. The password in the email is old and not active. The allegations are not true.

I received the demand for bitcoin email otherwise they would release compromising video to my contacts. It was concerning because the password that they had was valid. I called the police to inform them and went to the FTC website to also record it.

I just received one yesterday, in early May.

Just filed a complaint after I talked to a representative from FTC. Fortunately, the password mentioned and used as the email subject line is a generic password I used for non essential account.

I just received one yesterday, in early May threatening to send photos or videos.

The email I got had a .br domain, which is Brazil.

Got one today too. It was sent to an email account I have been trying to phase out, I shut it down today. Really creepy people in this world, disturbing

I got this exact email today... 5/13/20 asking for $2000 in bitcoin. I had used the password they mentioned in the email for a couple of accounts including in a while ago.

I got the same email on May 12, 2020 and it really rattled me. It was so creepy to think someone hacked into my account and knew an old password! My girlfriend looked the scam up and found this on the FTC website. They use threatening tactics and blackmail to get what they wanted, which was Bitcoins (2K). This is the first I've heard of this one.

I received an email yesterday in a similar fashion. They used an old password that I had several years ago. Like many of you, they asked for $2,000 in bitcoin within 24 hours. I submitted a complaint with the FBI through there website,

Just got two e-mailed threats 5-14-20 demanding $2000 in bitcoin claiming they have one of (very old from 2006) passwords and they're threatening to expose me to family, friends and coworkers for doing something embarrassing and personal in front of my camera's computer. First, I never have done such a thing and 2nd, my camera has been covered. They're threatening and nasty letters - just reported the two rather wordy and poorly written blackmails to the FTC - definitely not from someone who speaks colloquial English

I have received blackmailing email yesterday. They wanted me to buy USD 2000 in bitcoins and sent it to link they provided. otherwise they will send incriminating video of me to my friends... It was scary because they had my password to my bank account. But I kept cool head. Don't believe these scammers and report them.

Got a email if this variety today person’s email was “Kurtis” an old password of mine was the subject line and it went on to try and blackmail saying they had screenshots of a webcam when i was looking at a porn site. And even included a (you have interesting taste lol) what they heck? I don’t even have a webcam only iPhones. Also mentioned something about a Facebook contact list (i disabled my Facebook Account over two years ago) they threatened the same, to send money within 24 hours, 2000 bitcoin money. I reported to FTC and blocked the email account and deleted it. Wish i would have screenshot it to send to the fbi site. This honestly scared me to death, although i feel better knowing other people have seen this scam. It’s so sad at this horrible time that this is going on. Hopefully, i will not receive anymore emails like this. Gave me a panic attack. But it is definitely an old password that was compromised she’s ago. I would advise for people to update passwords more diligently as i certainly will now.

Just opened an email from Kermie with the same threat. Old password in subject line. Made my heart skip a few beats knowing someone had one of my old passwords. All recently changed anyway so I’m not worried but freaked me out a little nonetheless.

I received email dated 05/14/2020 at 2:17pm in my Yahoo mail from Xavier<pdvayd@ requesting $2000 bitcoins be sent to 1KiVsQ*uP brRcEeWix r23QjgXLmGa eyyxbY or they will release sexually explicit videos of me to my contacts. There are no such videos of me so I printed the email and deleted it. All the information posted in your scan report was basically dictated in my email. Thanks for your efforts to control these scam artists.

I received one of these on May 13. Thank goodness this page exists to confirm it was scam. The person put an old password in the subject line and I swear I felt my blood run cold. They claim they have a "cam video" of me which is how I knew it was fake but honestly, the parts about knowing my contacts, etc. was pretty scary.

I submitted a complaint on the FTC website (under Robocalls, unwanted telemarketing, text or SPAM) but let me know if I filed it under the wrong heading. I wasn't sure if this was the correct category.

Thank you Bridget Small and FTC for the clear, direct message and for facilitating this public discourse. These hackers seek to capitalize on fear and ignorance. We regain our power through forums like this.

I got one of these today I don't understand why they haven't been caught and punished for this. But thank you for the information and that is not something you really have to worry about I will look into changing my passwords again.

This is so helpful. I got one of these emails 3 days ago giving me 24 hours to send $2000 in bitcoins or they would send videos to 9 random friends. It starts off with an old password and then threatens to make me spend my life in embarrassment if I don't comply. Unfortunately I cancelled the email account before I saved a copy of the email. It was quite unnerving but it did cause me to change the passwords on all my accounts and not use the same one on any of the accounts. It also prompted me to do the research that led me to this site. If these scammers would use their ingenuity for good they could make a difference.

I received one this morning after I purchased a set of sheets on line. The screen at first flashed with an old maiden name and an old password. I removed the old password but did not realize the old last name until after I ordered. I contacted the selling company right away. Here is what they said. "To be perfectly honest, Im not entirely sure why your name would have changed if you entered it manually and did not use a payment account like PayPal or ShopPay to enter your billing information". So for now, I can only guess it was something picked up from an old paypal account which was never used under the old maiden name, but that sort of information is total public record and easy to simply google. The did use the auto fill. Lesson learned, never auto fill because it is is easy. I did report it this morning. Please everyone, stay safe out there. <3

I got a bunch of emails today from different senders with an old but correlation the time password.
It may or may not have been a site I would not visit today....

I received a blackmail scam today. I was threatened with a release of a porno film of myself, if I didn’t send $2000 in bitcoins. They had my email and one of my passwords.
I have deleted the message, and will ignore any future contact.

Got the same this week and it was demanding exactly as the others have mentioned in this thread. It is scary that they can get these passwords....but their claims are far fetched and if you can slow your heart rate to think clearly you will realize its BS. Constant vigilance on the password front required forever.

I've got two of these emails over the past few days. They quoted a password I use for all logins that don't involve money. I have thought for a while that this was a risk. So now I am slowly changing all my passwords to complex ones. That's going to take a while but it will be worth it.

I've received x3 emails now demanding bitcoin donations in various amounts. I've laughed & ignored them all, but they do have a very old password I can only assume has come from a recent data breach. They also claim they have all my email contacts, social media contacts & all recent activity on my laptop (which I barely use). They money they're claiming is laughable & I don't have, so post away, mate. Send this video you have of me, we can all have a good laugh about it.

I just got this email the other night. It happened eerily after a seller on Craigslist started info mining me and threatened to publish my (and family) personal (yet public - address, phone number) info on sex dating sites for trying to make sure he wasn't a scammer. Needless to say, I called the police. I called them because, what are the chances, I actually DO have videos on an adult site out there (without my face). It all sounded too legit except for the fact I keep my webcam covered and my other cam unplugged when not in use. The password they provided is a password I have used on many sites over the years, so I'm not even sure where to begin on changing that one. I'm glad to see it is a legitimate scam and the guy from Craigslist wasn't trying to blackmail me. I just received a second email in my spam folder today.


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