Scam Of The Week: FBI Warns Against Email Extortion

DST3-1.pngYour employees are being attacked both inside and outside the office. This new email extortion scam called CEO fraud can hit in both places, so it makes sense to warn them about this ahead of time and prevent a variety of trouble.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) warned that e-mail extortion campaigns have heated up in recent weeks.

The IC3 said the recent uptick in email extortion comes from the data breaches at organizations like Ashley Madison, the IRS, Anthem, and many others where millions of records with (sometimes highly) personal information was stolen.

With extortion e-mail scams, attempted victims are told that if a ransom is not paid, their personal information like name, phone number, address, credit card data, and other confidential details will be "outed" to all the victim's social media contacts, family, and friends.

The recipient is instructed to pay in Bitcoin, and are typically given a short deadline. The ransom amount ranges from 2 to 5 bitcoins, which amounts to about $300 to $1,400 depending on the exchange rates.

I would send the following in an email to your employees. Feel free to copy/paste/edit:

[WARNING] The FBI issued an alert about a new scam you need to be aware of. This is an email you receive which threatens to make public all your personal, and sometimes very private information unless you pay a ransom in an electronic currency called Bitcoin.

It is easy to get intimidated by threats like this, and you might be pushed into trying to prevent possible negative consequences. However, do not fall for pressure tactics like this, because if you do, your data will be sold to other scammers who will continue to haunt you.

If you receive email extortion demands, do not answer, and do not pay anything. Report this scam to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) instead. Here is their website:
Remember... Always Think Before You Click!

Let's stay safe out there.


Topics: Scam Of The Week, CEO Fraud

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