Sextortion emails on the rise — don’t take the bait!
"Sextortion" is the latest wrinkle in cyber crime, according to a warning from the Better Business Bureau.
Melissa Companick, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of New Jersey, says anyone with an internet device can fall victim to this, especially those who visit porn sites.
You get an email that says someone has hacked your device and stolen any compromising material — photos or videos — that they found.
"What they're going to claim is that they've hacked your computer and they've activated your webcam and they're going to share compromising pictures and images of you if you don't pay them immediately," she explained.
Companick says the hackers want a ransom, usually in the form of Bitcoin or a gift card. She advises that the best response is no response.
"Don't respond to it and permanently delete the e-mail. Certainly don't click on any links that might be in there because you know at best it might be trying to install some malware or a virus on your computer," she warned.
The Better Business Bureau has some other suggestions:
— Never send compromising images of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are—or who they say they are.
— Try searching the web for one or two sentences from the email to confirm it is actually spam.
— Never send money, buy a gift card or do anything to comply with the demands in the email.
— Do a security check on your computer and install security software.
— Enable two-factor authentication on your important accounts.
— Change passwords often and consider getting a password manager to ensure your passwords are strong and unique. Avoid using ‘password’, ‘Password123’, ‘12345’, and other most commonly used passwords.
— To give you peace of mind, keep webcams covered when you are not using them.
Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5