BBB Warns of Extortion Emails Attempting to Capitalize on Pandemic

Updated: May 21, 2020

BBB has seen an increase in extortion emails during stay-at-home protocols. Scammers are sending threatening emails and messages claiming your computer has been hacked, and they are in possession of sexually explicit photographs or videos that they will release unless you pay up. While the content of each communication may vary, the theme is similar:

  • Your username or email address will be used in the greeting line instead of your actual first name.

  • There may be grammatical errors and/or broken English in the message.

  • You are accused of visiting adult-themed websites on their computer. The digital attacker will claim to have proof of this, either through your browser history, or having taken explicit photographs or videos of you via their laptop camera.

  • The digital attacker threatens to distribute this information to your contacts list, or threatens to expose you/your family to computer viruses unless you meet their demands of payment.

  • There is a sense of urgency to comply with the requests; usually 48 hours or less.

If you receive an email like this, report it to and the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at

#ScamAlert #BBB #Extortion #Scam

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