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Criminals turn to crypto in latest ‘sextortion’ scam

FILE PHOTO: Representation of the Bitcoin virtual currency standing on the PC motherboard is seen in this illustration picture, February 3, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

A ‘sextortion’ email scam that demands cryptocurrency payments from victims has been detected in Gibraltar, the Royal Gibraltar Police confirmed yesterday.

The scam sees fraudsters send victims their passwords as proof that their computer has been hacked.

The fraudsters then demand payment in Bitcoins after claiming that the victim has been filmed on their computers watching pornographic material.

The victims are then threatened that the recording will be sent to their list of contacts if payment is not made within 24 hours.

An RGP spokesman told the Chronicle no formal complaints or reports have been made to the police, but the advisory note was issued due to information received that Gibraltarians have been targeted.

The RGP added there have been no reports of the threats having been carried out after the demand period has lapsed.

This scam has also been identified in the UK and is not just targeting Gibraltar and the RGP is collaborating with its UK counterparts with regards this scam.

It is suspected that the criminals obtain the password information from data breaches at third party websites and not as a result of the victims being directly targeted and individual emails or computers being hacked.

Anyone wanting to check whether their email address may have been compromised in a third party security breach can do so using the website.

The public can also check on new trends in scam emails at which is the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre in the UK.

The RGP advise people not to pay these criminals, to change your password, not to engage, keep anti-virus software up to date, use a webcam cover when not in use, and if you have sent money to the criminal report it to the RGP’s Economic Crime Unit.

Members of the public should bear in mind that if they have not engaged in the type of activity claimed in these sort of scams, this in itself is an indication that it is in fact a scam
The RGP also wishes to reassure the public that if they are concerned after having received any phishing emails they can contact New Mole House Police Station for advice or can report the matter at any of our stations.

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