Australians have been told to “delete” an email purporting to be from MyGov that threatens to distribute explicit content of them if they don’t hand over a large sum of money.
The email demands its recipient pay $1490USD to the sender’s “Bitcoin wallet” or else to prepare for everyone they know to be sent explicit videos of them watching adult content.
The explicit videos, according to the scammer, were recorded after they installed a virus which gave them access to their “email, video camera, microphone, keyboard, and other controllers”.
The government’s Scamwatch told Australians this week to not respond and delete the email if they received one.
Australians have been issued a grim warning. Picture: Scamwatch
An example of the email shared by the agency showed it had the subject line: “complete your debt payment now” and went on to describe the “distressing news” of how they had gained access to the recipient’s device.
“I am sorry to inform you of some distressing news. A few months ago I gained access to all the devices you use to browse the internet, and have been monitoring your online activity ever since,” the email claimed.
“Here is how I was able to do this: I purchased a list of email accounts from hackers and was able to log in to your email, which allowed me to access your video camera, microphone, keyboard, and other controllers.
“As a result I was able to download all your data, including your web browsing history, photos, and social media account information. Additionally, I noticed that you frequently visit websites containing adult content and recorded some explicit videos of you. If you don’t believe me I can easily share them with everyone you know.”
The scammer claimed it had explicit videos to distribute. Picture: Scamwatch
The scammer ordered the money be transferred to a Bitcoin wallet and warned the recipient to not call police or reinstall their operating system as it would “not resolve the issue”.
“Also, do not share this information with anyone else,” the email said.
“I recommend that you change all your passwords regularly to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.”
Scamwatch told Australians to not fall for the scammer’s brazen trick.
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“Be wary of emails claiming to be from ‘mygov’ threatening to share explicit info about you to your contacts unless you pay money,” it said in a tweet.
“The government will never threaten you or ask you to pay money via cryptocurrency. Don’t respond, just delete.”