The threat is the common tactic to scam money from victims. Extortion scammers take this to a new level by focusing on threats. There are many types of extortion scams: sextortion – focusing on people who might have visited adult sites; bomb threats; or any new threats that come up. Scammers are using an old password or part of the phone number to convince victims that they are serious.
Characteristics of an extortion scam
Data: Scammers will use your current or old data like a password.
Generic: Scammers usually do not specify the site or any other information they provide. If you read the email it can apply to anyone.
Short deadlines: Scammers use fear and high-pressure tactics. You must pay within 24 to 48 hours.
Bitcoins: Scammers most of the time are asking for money to be transferred to their bitcoin wallet. They are insisting they are checking the wallet regularly and if they do not get money within time expires, the consequences will be tremendous.
Poor writing: Check the text carefully and see whether they use weird grammar. Mistakes and wrong spelling are often seen in these emails.
How not to fall for an extortion scam?
Do not panic: After coming across such an email, take a deep breath and read it again to see if it fits the profile of a scam.
Do not reply: Do not try to get into the conversation with the scammer. This can lead to more emails and a chance to receive ransomware. Do not click on any links or images provided as an attachment.
Do not pay: Do not pay just to make sure it is not real. Once you paid, either the same or the next person is going to use this to extract more money.
Check online: Check for the same phrases, names, and templates online. These are sent to thousands and usually, someone is already figuring out whether this is a scam.
Secure: If the scammer had your password or any details of you, change your passwords and use two-factor verification if possible.
What to do if you fell for an unexpected money scam?
It is important to stay calm. We have a few more tips on what to do in case you fell for an extortion scam.
- Recover your money: Try to recover money by contacting your bank, credit card company or payment service provider.
- Collect proof: Try to save all the details, conversations especially money transactions. This might come in handy while reporting to authorities.
- Report the scammer: Report the scammers as much as possible, especially to the platform you were approached. Social media have built an automatic report system that makes it easier to do it.
- Report the scam to the authoritie: This is more of a formal procedure rather than practical, but this might help your neighbor in the long term. Scamadviser.com encourage to report every scam to local authorities so they can gather the information to explore the opportunities to help victims
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