OPP Warns of Cyber-Extortion Scam
The OPP says another cyber-extortion scam is making waves.
Police say the scam involves a threatening email that is sent to the victim, requesting ransom money for compromising pictures or videos. The scammer will tell the victim their computer has been hacked and the scammer has gained control of the webcam and have recorded a video of the victim watching pornography, or the IP address of their computer was used to observe child abuse or terrorism sites. The scammer will then threaten to send the videos to the victim’s social media contact list. The OPP says the scammers do not have the videos and the public is encouraged to not pay any money and report the incident to the police.
Police say a 35-year old Prescott man reported he had received an email on his Hotmail account. This email threatened to send out pictures of him watching pornography to everyone on his contact list. The victim immediately recognized that the email was a scam, but noticed that the scammer had his current password information. The victim reported the incident to the OPP instead of responding to the suspicious email. The victim did not lose any money because he reported the incident.
The OPP says tips to avoid this scam include: do not pay ransom requests. Change your password immediately, if your password was mentioned in the ransom message. Beware of pop-up messages with a ransom request and do not click on any attachment links. Be wary of free downloads or website access, such as music, games, movies and adult sites. These sites may install harmful programs onto your device, without you knowing.
Constable Shawn Peever of the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP says that the scam is active but that fortunately, no one (in the Upper Ottawa Valley area) has reported being a victim. If you are a victim of this scam, report the incident to the Police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. For more information on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, click here.
Written by: Courtney Crowder with edits from Devon Jolander.