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What should you do if Spam Email With My Phone Number In The Subject Line? According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), these low-tech scams increased in 2018, bringing in millions for con artists.
Electronic extortion complaints increased 242% last year to 51,146 registered cases with $83 million in total losses. Most extortion complaints received in 2018 were related to sextortion campaigns in which victims received emails threatening to send pornographic videos of them or other compromising details to family, coworkers, friends, or social network connections if a ransom was not paid, according to a spokesperson for CNBC.
The FBI does not separate sextortion from the total number of extortion crimes reported. Expert counsel: Refuse to fall for it. Priya Sopori, a partner at the legal firm Greenberg Gluster and a former assistant US attorney who prosecuted cybercrimes like sextortion, said, “They play on our basest layers of psychology.” Any generic comment will be interpreted as a personal statement.
You might pay even if you’ve done nothing at all if you think that hackers out there know every detail of your life and perhaps even know it better than you do.
This Is A Typical Scam. Could You Ignore It And Delete It?
Digging Into The Sextortion Emails
Our team reviewed four emails that were sent to me and other people I know in total. Between April 12 and April 20, 2021, they were all received. It’s interesting to note that despite coming from either AOL or Yahoo accounts, both of which are controlled by Verizon, all four emails ended up in Google Gmail accounts.
Each email had a different sender name and email address, and when we examined the headers, it was clear that these were legitimate accounts that may have been infected by malware or stolen credentials.
The recipient’s name, including middle name or initials, appeared in the subject line of each of the four emails. The email address didn’t always include the name of the receiver. The sextortion perpetrators likely obtained our names from a source other than our email addresses because of this and the requirement to include the recipient’s name in the subject line before sending. They most likely obtained the data from stolen files containing our names and emails.
The emails we received were similarly worded and had terrible grammar and spelling, which was true of all four of us. There were no images or other elements because it was just simple text. The email body had no links either.
The communications included an attached text message that was malware-free. Fear not, I didn’t open it. To do that, I have a team of secure computers! Never open attachments from unidentified sources.) Our hypothesis that the sextortion operators knew each target’s name and email address is strengthened by the fact that the attached text message had the same recipient name as the subject line.
Simple attachments were used. Two of them only had a US dollar sum and a Bitcoin wallet address. The wording in the email message combined additional text in the other two. However, it was not an exact match. Each of them had their Bitcoin wallet address, which makes logical given that sextortion campaigns frequently use multiple Bitcoin addresses.
What To Do If You Receive A Phone Number Email?
Of course, I’m being a little sarcastic because this is such an absurd attempt at online extortion. I am aware that not everyone is as knowledgeable about this sort of thing. So, in case you get a sextortion email, here are some suggestions.
- Not to worry. It’s simply spam. Consider it to be a contemporary Nigerian Prince email.
- Don’t answer. There is no need; occasionally, a con artist will escalate if you respond.
- Avoid opening any attachments in case they contain a virus. Although there wasn’t one in this particular instance, your email still has the information. Avoid taking a chance.
- A password hygiene check is worthwhile if the extortionist mentions password leaks. Change those passwords after searching the Dark Web for any leaks. Invest in a reliable password manager if you need assistance managing your different passwords.
Send the email to your pals, and you can all laugh at it together. All of us must be able to giggle at this, right? Thank you for traveling with me as we explore the depths of sextortion blackmail emails, reader. As always, I hope you left this session more informed and, at the very least, mildly entertained. I hope your firewalls are sturdy and that none of your con artists are as naive as this one.
Did you receive a Spam Email With My Phone Number In The Subject Line? Checking and updating your spam filters can help ensure that those filters are catching the most recent iterations of these scams, in addition to maintaining a healthy level of skepticism (Kleczynski emphasizes that it is dubious that anyone sending one of these emails knows you or has information on you).
You may ensure that any credentials displayed in an unsettling subject line are no longer in use by changing your passwords or utilizing a password manager. He advises multifactor authentication, which offers you the choice to log in using ways other than passwords, to allay password concerns.
You can notify your company’s IT department or the local police, who are both aware of these frauds, if you receive an email that scares you, according to Sopori. You can also inform the FBI’s IC3 about the emails.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I receive a sextortion email?
Email sextortion is a significant issue, and the easiest way to handle it is to delete all offending messages immediately. Delete it rather than replying in any manner or opening it. Avoid responding to the email, opening the attachments, and even opening the email itself.
Why does the subject of my email read “spam”?
The spam filter on the receiving server adds the phrase “[SPAM]” to the subject lines of some campaigns. This usually happens because the receiving server does not like something about the campaign. The receiving domain’s IT staff should be able to clarify why it is being categorized as SPAM.
What would happen if I phoned the number on the phishing email?
Your phone cannot be hacked by just dialing a number. The user must grant access to their computer and divulge personal or financial information for these scams to work. There’s nothing to worry about if you called them but didn’t offer them any information.
What happens if sextortion is ignored?
It is equally conceivable that extortionists may escalate their behavior and become more harmful to anyone being extorted online if their requests go unanswered. They may even reveal the information only to spite their target.