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Con artists trick Tampa Bay residents into sending money to avoid sextortion

30 Nov 2018 | Posted Under Fraud
My intension for sharing my story is to bring awareness to con artist's tricks.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - The first thing about this email that gets your attention is the subject line, which happens to be one of your passwords.

Soon, you're intrigued by the writer's claims, then maybe even terrified.

It's a new twist on sextortion. Scammers claim they've installed malware on a porn site you have visited and then hacked into your computer and your webcam. They claim they have video of you watching adult videos and that they will send that video to everyone in your contacts list - email and social media - unless you pay their ransom. 

In one of the emails, obtained by Better Call Behnken, a scammer writes: "It is simply your misfortune that I have noticed your misadventures, I then invested in more days than I should have investigating into your personal life and created a double display videotape. First half displays the video you were viewing and the second half displays the capture of your web cam (it's you doing naughty things.) "

The email goes on to say the writer will be willing to keep this damaging video a secret if you pay up, via Bitcoin. 

The crooks are betting on the chance that you - or someone in your household - has been visiting porn sites or has a secret to hide. 

Potential victims are thrown off by this email because it is well-written and convincing. 

Most phishing scams try to steal passwords, but this one already has your stolen password – and uses that information to try to reel in the victim.

This scam is hitting Tampa Bay area email inboxes. 


Joanne Weiland says she has received five sextortion emails in the past two months. She says she knew it must be fake because she doesn't watch pornographic videos, but she was still freaked out that some creep had her old password. 

"That got my attention," Weiland said. "I knew it couldn't be real, but I can see how someone would fall for this."

Dr. Dae Sheridan, a mental health counselor and sexologist, says this scam works because it immediately taps into powerful emotions.

"The perpetrators are counting on the fact that we hold our privacy very sacred and feeling safe in our homes."

Even people who know there's no porn-related video of them, Sheridan said, could be willing to pay for their privacy anyway. 

 "They're going to be going through that rolodex in their mind, and wondering, 'Did I do something wrong?' because our brains will fire up when we are in fear of something real or imagined, our brains will fire up that we are in actual danger."

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