The Santa Barbara County District Attorney is warning residents about a new online extortion scam that has been targeting a growing number of people in recent weeks.
Officials said scammers send an email claiming to have uncovered a highly embarrassing secret, alleging to have video recording of people using pornographic websites and passwords used to access inappropriate content on the internet. There are several versions of the threats, others alleging to have evidence that people committed adultery or having access to contact lists.
They will then threaten to release the video and information to friends and family unless people give them money, usually in the form of bitcoin.
The district attorney’s office said if you get any emails like this, delete them immediately and don’t try to respond. As a precaution, change your passwords and contact law enforcement and financial institutions. Reports can also be filed with the FBI.