Bluffing Blackmail

envelope in red circle with gray and pink circles


Don’t fall for the latest phony blackmail attempt launched by scam artists in a recent large-scale cyber security attack. According to the KnowBe4 Security Team in a report found on, these suspicious emails are written in a strangely casual tone and seem to outline the bad guy’s entire blackmail process. The scammer uses a strategy to claim they have purchased your information from a hacker, even going so far as to reference an actual password of yours that has supposedly been exposed in a data breach.

The scam continues with a message that they have installed malicious software (malware) onto your computer, phone or tablet, and onto your device.  Supposedly, the malware was used to access your webcam and record you without your knowledge. Despite claiming to have full access to your accounts and device, the scammer intends to blackmail you via email. They claim they will threaten to release an incriminating video of you if you don’t pay them. Don’t be fooled!

KnowBe4 recommends following these tips to call the scammer’s bluff. Think before you click. If the scammer truly has the access to your accounts and device that they claim to have, then why are they emailing you to ask for money? Additionally, cybercriminals use information from real data breaches to seem legitimate. So, stay informed about data breaches by using a trusted credit and identity monitoring service. A number of reputable institutions provide these services for free.

Protect yourself from potential data breaches by regularly updating your passwords, using multi-factor authentication, and limiting the amount of information you give to retailers and online services.