I recently received this wonderful piece of exploitative email:
"Hi, victim. I writ5 you beAause I put a malware on the adult webpage which you have visited.
My virus gr0bbed all your personal info and turned on your camera which captured you.
I will delete the commpromising video and info if you pay me 999 EURO in bitcoin. This is address for paym5nt : 248TaC3eD6CAaKVFiADoXbEhk7UZwSK2 As soon as you read the message I'll see it right away.
It is not necessary to tell me that you have sent money to me. This address is connected to you, my system will delete everything automatically after transfer confirmation. If you try to deceive me, I'll see it right away!"
Fun stuff! Luckily I don't visit those types of sites, so I know the sender is full of it. But even without that, this is obviously fake. I can imagine if someone was particularly ashamed of whatever habits they had, it might be pretty incentivizing to pay them the money, provided the people assisting you with the bitcoin transaction didn't immediately smell a rat and point out the obvious: that this is a scam email.
The first obvious failure is the poor grammar. Anyone who's smart enough to write a virus that sophisticated would spend more time getting their message across in a professional manner, despite the message being extortion. The second failure is the focus of the extortion; if you give the money, why would they delete the video? They would keep on milking you for as long as they want after all.
The third failure is the various technical shams they're pushing at you: "As soon as you read the message I'll see it right away." - not possible with email. "It is not necessary to tell me that you have sent money to me." - bitcoin is anonymous payment, so there's not necessarily a way for them to know which payments come from who. "If you try to deceive me, I'll see it right away!" - how? They don't have a camera drone tracking you, they're in another country. Maybe they're psychic...
Also, this is literally the plot of a recent episode of the UK TV series Black Mirror, so it seems like the scammer does not have much in the way of creativity. The best way to deal with these scams is to forward them on to email@example.com so that NZ email providers can filter them. If you're unsure about an email, a general rule of thumb is that if someone's threatening you, it's a scam. Run it past a tech person if you're still unsure. It's a strange world, getting threatened by nameless people from other countries. Luckily it's all smoke and mirrors.
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