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Cryptocurrency blackmail scam alert

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The email suddenly appears in your inbox. Someone is writing to say that they have access to your cell phone or your computer. And they’re about to make your sensitive videos, pictures, or compromising information public. Pay them money (a ransom), they say, using a cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, and they won’t expose the truth.

Have you gotten one of these emails? If so, you’re not alone. The email is a part of a cryptocurrency blackmail scam that’s been popping up for a while. But last month, the FTC saw another uptick in the number of reports of this scam.

We’ve said it before, but it’s always worth repeating. The person behind these emails is a scammer. Don’t pay him. He’s using threats, intimidation, and high pressure tactics to trick you out of your money. And while the scammer may say that he knows about an alleged affair, a video, or something else that could embarrass you if it was made public, it’s all fake. In fact, it’s also a criminal extortion attempt. Which is why it’s really important that you report this type of scam to the FBI, right away. And once you do, remember to tell the FTC, too, at

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Avoiding Scams


This has happened to me twice. I did not respond, but I did not contact the FBI.

This has also happened to me several times. It tells me that they have access to a bunch of things belonging to me ..... that do not exist. One email told me that he had the password for access to my computer, but did not confirm the password. I never, ever, ever, reply.

agree, NEVER reply

yes, this has happened at least 4 times now. does concern me. But just delete it. as not sure how to handle like all the junk male i am on a dating site, and find that fraudulent.what do yo do when you are trying to do the right thing?

same thing happened to me. I just deleted it.

I had this recently. As “proof” that they had access to my computer they indicated that they had my password. The alarming part was that it was an actual password that I have used in the past but it was one that I don’t use anymore. It definitely made me second guess whether or not it was a scam.

Same for me. They had an old password. Likely they purchased a list of outdated info. Enough to convince some though I bet.

Mine did the same....used a password I had dropped 15 years ago.

Started laughter at my end.

Getting old passwords from the darkweb (sites/businesses that have had data breaches) is much easier than actually getting your current passwords. Good job not falling for it!

This is a very scary world!

I agree 100% ! Not much reward in being a responsible person these days! Very sad world we live in.

What I believe happens is that they either get you to sign up for an account on a site somewhere or they have managed to get password data that has been stolen from an external site. They then use that little bit of information they have about you to try and convince you that they know a lot more about your internet activities or that they have access to your computer.


This same thing happened to me twice within the last few months within a few days of each other. It also included one of my passwords and it was one that I still used on some things. It was alarming to see this and I was nervous for a few days until the "deadline" was passed. Of course I immediately changed that password on the apps that used it.

I just wanted to say Thank you for such information as it helps us all to stay hopefully one step ahead of people who would rob us blind.

I don't understand

I’ve had a set an similar email he was asking for cash in the form of a gift card. I think I saved the email and if I can find it I’ll report it.

I have received multiple of these messages over the course of several months. The writer included an old password of mine to "prove" that they really did have access to everything on my computer. Little did they know, I haven't used that password in many years and where it was used has been changed. I was told later by someone in cybersecurity that not that long ago websites did not have the security in place to protect that information - so, this is likely some old list of data that the scammer has purchased. Also, the scammer said they had been recording me on the camera on my laptop, but my camera is always covered, so I knew that was not true as well.
Anyway, be careful. Don't believe everything you read in scam messages. And as written in the article, report the incident. If you don't tell, no one will know, and nothing will change.

I received 4 or 5 of these - an old password to one account that I have since changed. I haven't reported them. Next time I get one I'll report it. They are all from different email accounts.

this happened to me right after i was looking to buy crypyocurrency so no more browsing for cryptocurrency i changed my computer

Any email sender not in my contacts goes straight to spam. I don't open spam to find out what it says.

Which email service has that feature, I really want to put it on my primary email, since I am getting spam emails.

I guess the scammers gave up on the one where they say they have footage of you visiting adult web sites and so forth--and decided to try something new--a slightly different spin.

Good information. I was not aware of this scam. Thank you.

Tried to submit a complaint to FBI using the instructions provided but could not. They wanted the IP address of the email source. How would I know? Couldn't submit a picture of the email and I wasn't downloading any pictures in the email. The FBI complaint form asks too many questions not answerable.

THAT'S so disheartening :-(

Typically in those instances you can answer just the best that you can recall. In the same manner with the IP question simply stating you are not sure or have no idea is a legitimate answer so its ok to not know the information. They try to be thorough as they wouldn't want to spin their wheels attempting to locate information that you could easily provide if you happened to have it. I as a lifelong civil service employee I understand why many of such types of questions are asked. Its that many questions only apply in rare circumstance but its a question for those rare circumstances. But I can say that when those complaints are received that even though a particular individual may not have his or her complaint directly responded to that they definitely determine workflow, caseloads, and allocation of resources. In my opinion within the federal system its the easiest way for the public to shift the focus of an entire agency. So your time at the very least will prevent another future victim. Even if in the end its a result of the bureaucratic numbers game.

The email IP address is in the email header, you might need to right click and select 'view full header' or some other user option but it is there. Unfortunately that information can be spoophed but sometimes they get sloppy. As they used to say on 'Dragnet,' "The police can make mistakes all day long, the criminal can only make one!"
You can also use your favorite search engine to ask "how do I view an email header in (name of email application here)."

I have had three of these through my email. Each time I asked them since they were going to send this to everyone I know, then asked if they would send me a copy.
Once they told me they had my password. That password I ever used was once for PayPal years ago.
So far no copy.

They use what’s become available in the darkweb, hope t this particular case It’s called “password dump”.

If you haven't received one of these by now then you definitely will. If you respond in any way you will find yourself escalated to the "ultimate sucker list." Assume *all* emails are phoney scams until proven otherwise.

I have recently received 5 of these email threats. I did not report them. Our government is too busy putting drug users in prison instead of going after real criminals.

Used to receive these...saw old email from FTC to 1st call local police. So called local police regular ofc line--officer came out and said just delete/ignore--he gets them all the time. If I ever get another one, will follow this new direction. (Scammers had an old password from eons ago attached to a very old website. Even tho it was a scam, it was unnerving to receive.

I've had several of these, some with very old (haven't used in years) passwords and some passwords that I've never had as proof. The first few times were almost humorous but not really as I'm sure there may be folks out there that fall for the scam. I did not report them to the FBI.

I’ve had several of these email. I have forwarded each one to the Report Phishing .

How do you report to the phishing site?

I suggest that is not the best method.
We should be able to forward the email we get from scammers.
The same with phone calls. There should be a combination of keys on the phone when we press them, the message should go to the FTC for analysis, investigation and the nailing of the scammer(s).
Please make it simple for people.

@Dwaraka - that's a great idea!

Dwaraka's suggestion to facilitate ease of reporting/forwarding spammer data to the FTC is great! Please consider it, FTC -- would make everyone's efforts to crush the criminals much easier.

I think you really have a good idea there. It would sure speed up getting scams to them.

YES!!!! " ... please make it simple for people" !

I just got one of those emails today. I knew it was a scam since the things they said they found wasn't anything I would look at anyway. I'm old and I don't scare easy.

I've received this scam several times in the past few months. Looking at the email address that sent it is my clue that it's a scam. I didn't realize I should report this to the FBI and the FTC. I will do so the next time around. Again, like others an old password was used.

I had gotten such an email a couple of years ago. Wasn't aware of this scam until then and it terrified me. They knew the password I had used in the past. I put out something on FB that I had received this blackmail and friends immediately responded that it was a scam. Had I know it should have been reported to the FBI I would have done so. But I reported it to the local police and nothing was done.

This happened to me as well, but the scammer WAS able to change the password and the phone number linked to my account for two step verification! Scared the heck out of me, but I knew too that it was a scammer because they said they had compromising video, and anyone who knows m knows that’s impossible, unless they are god and can make me whole again!!
What really bothered me was how did they get so far into my account that they could change my security backup information? And once they had my phone number and other information what’s to stop them from getting into my financials?
I did report it to the proper authorities, but was never contacted, as usual, by anyone at either agency! Very disappointing.

Happened to me twice also. was not sure where to report

I have the best solution. Don't put anything on your cell or computer that you wish to keep secret.

I had someone send me that kind of email once and I told him if he "exposed" me I would kill my self and in my suicide note that the reason I killed myself was because of my note, so he would face murder charge.

Guess what---that was several years ago and I am still here. Solution, keep secrets secret, and have fun with the scammers!

I have had this happen multiple times; the first time I knew they didn't have the photos of me they claimed to have, but, they did have an actual password I used which scared me. Later I checked an old email address I used for shopping only and they had another "actual" password I used. I use PayPal now for almost all online purchases, so I don't have to sign up with each vendor, however, they share your email address with the vendors. I have addressed this with them to no avail. Many times I am ordering something and may never use that website again so don't want them to have my email address. This just causes more spam. Not sure if this is true, however, I heard once you are no longer using the website you purchased from they dump your information username, password and all and this is where a lot of the problems stem from. Makes sense because there have been times I try to purchase from a website I haven't used in awhile and they make me re-create everything. PayPal could be a huge help in stopping some of this if they would just protect our email address as well as our payment sources.

I got an email from these scamers. They said they had my password, and had seen stuff on my computer. It was a password I used like 11 years ago. Crazy!

Don't open... just mark spam and get rid of it!
Anything that comes in with the words, 'you just won a gift for a cruise', or 'your account is in jeopardy', etc., I automatically do not open. Just mark spam and it's gone!


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