BBB Warning: Don’t be taken in by Porn Revenge scam

Press release from BBB

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 BBB Scam Tracker has been receiving reports of an old scam with a new twist.

“Revenge porn” is the distribution, or threat of distribution, of explicit photos or videos of a victim in order to blackmail them. Sometimes the victim knows the perpetrator, and it’s personal. But often the scammer is a stranger and the goal of the blackmail can be phishing or smishing (to obtain money now), identity theft (to later impersonate the victim), or installation of malware on a computer (to steal passwords or expand the scam to others).

It seems that the media is reporting such threats on a daily basis, as a number of celebrities have been victims of revenge porn. It can happen via email, letter, or text. If you are threatened with this, do not click on any unknown links or download any attachments. Doing so could lead you to a fake site designed to trick you into giving up personal information or can download malware to your computer or mobile device.

A new twist on this scam presents victims with threats of revealing they watched or downloaded porn. Even if you’ve never visited such a site or viewed such materials, don’t think that it can’t happen to you. The scammer will contact people and claim they have hacked their computer and activated their webcam, allowing them to access all the porn sites the victim has visited. The scammer then threatens to send that information to family, friends, co-workers, and more if a payment is not made.

Recent submissions to BBB Scam Tracker state the criminals want to be paid in Bitcoin, a virtual currency that is legitimate but very difficult to trace. They may also claim to have an old password and will download malware on your computer if you do not make a payment.

Protect Yourself:

  • Never send money!
  • Do a security check on your computer OR if you haven’t done so already, install security software.
  • Change passwords immediately.
  • Don’t respond to threats.
  • If posted, ask websites to remove photos/videos.
  • Never send compromising images of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are—or who they say they are.
  • Do not open attachments from people you do not know.
  • Turn off your electronic devices and web cameras when you are not using them.

More information:

The FTC has advice for victims of revenge porn:
consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/01/what-do-if-youre-target-revenge-porn

Information on revenge porn laws can be found here:cybercivilrights.org/revenge-porn-laws/.

If you are a victim of a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker. If the scammer contacted you electronically (via email, website, or social media), report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center.

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