Webcam Bitcoin Blackmail Scam Returns

John Lister's picture

An email scam that aims to exploit embarrassment appears to be back in full effect.

The scam involves the recipient getting a message falsely claiming somebody has hacked their computer through an adult website, then accessed their webcam and filmed the person enjoying said website.

It goes on to claim the hacker has gathered a list of contacts from the user's email and Facebook accounts and threatens to send a copy of the embarrassing video to the person's friends and family. To stop this, the victim must pay the equivalent of $1,900 in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Email Allegedly Tracked

The email also includes one of the user's online passwords with the claim that the scammer obtained it as part of the hack. It also says a tracking pixel in the email confirms the user has read the message, which then starts a "24 hour countdown" to pay the ransom.

In fact very little of the message is true: the tracking pixel claim is technically possible (an email can retrieve a single pixel image file that reveals the message has been opened), though there's no real need for the scammer to do this. (Source:

Furthermore, the alleged hack of the user's computer, along with the spying has never happened. What's actually occurring is a simple numbers game where the scammers email millions of people, knowing that even a tiny proportion paying the ransom will add up to a hefty bounty.

Also, because Bitcoin payments are public record (though the recipient's identity is secret), it's known one scammer pulled in more than $50,000 in a week. (Source:

Password Used For Credibility

The password is the key to making the hacking claims look legitimate. In reality, though, the scammer has simply used a database of stolen email addresses and passwords from one of the many data breach of websites and online services, rather than getting it direct from the victim's computer.

Why the tactic is on the increase isn't entirely clear. One theory is simply that more people have been working remotely with less managerial supervision and thus are more likely to have been visiting adult websites. That in turn increases the chances they'll find the scammer's claims plausible.

People Still Worried About Being Hacked

If you are still worried that you've been hacked, please carefully read the below two articles:

If you would like your computer looked at remotely by a professional to ensure you're safe, please contact Dennis for 1-on-1 support. Dennis is a true professional and will gladly point you in the right direction. You can review Dennis' impressive resume here.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you noticed such emails recently? Is it a problem or should you not worry if you're not somebody likely to fall for such scams? Have you ever reported such scams to law enforcement or other agencies?

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Unrecognised's picture

old password. if only covid19 could attack and eliminate only arseholes