Scam targets consumers of pornography
(KUTV) -- An alarming email is popping up in inboxes from someone who claims to have hacked into your computer and recorded video of you through your webcam. That recording allegedly took place while you were watching adult videos.
The emails reads, “I made a double-screen video. First part displays the video you were watching ... and next part displays the recording of your web cam."
Then the extortion: "$300 is a reasonable price for our little secret," the sender writes. Send the money within one day or "I will, no doubt send out your video to all of your contacts including members of your family, co-workers, and many others."
Computer expert and owner of PC Laptops, Dan Young, says hackers have proven that anything is possible, but that folks who get this email are most likely being scammed.
“[The emails are] going out to hundreds of thousands of people,” he said. “They don't know you personally."
Young says that, of course, online scams are nothing new, but using shame can be a powerful motivator to squeeze people into paying.
"Instant fear is what it causes,” he said. “It literally causes people's heart to drop if there's threat of personal embarrassment."
Utahns may be particularly susceptible to the scam. A 2009 Harvard study found that, per capita, when it comes to pornography, Utah was "the most-subscribing state."
Pornography has also been declared a public health crisis in Utah by some state leaders.
For some, it may be tempting to pay the few hundred bucks for peace of mind, but Young says that's a bad idea.
“If you pay, you'll end up on their ‘this dude pays’ list, or 'this girl pays' list and they're going to keep harassing you."
Young's advice to someone who gets the email, or any email they suspect to be a scammer, it to report it to the FBI, mark the email as junk mail with your email provider and, if you're worried, get your computer in to a computer store and have it scanned for computer viruses and malware.
Young also suggests investing in a strong anti-virus program for your computer.