Imagine getting an email threatening to release intimate video of you if you don’t shell out thousands of dollars.
That is what has happened to three women in the Weyburn area who’ve been the victims of a scam – a scam police there haven’t seen before.
Rod Stafford, Deputy Chief of the Weyburn Police, explained the scam:
An email comes in saying the person’s computer has been hacked, and the hacker found sexually explicit materials – images or videos – the victim had made on their webcam. If the victim doesn’t pay the hacker thousands of dollars, the email threatens that the materials will be released to the victim’s entire address book and posted on social media.
Stafford called it an odd threat because it’s so specific – not everyone will have such materials on their computers.
“In the three complaints that we have officially, in each case the person receiving the (email) said that that type of graphic information does not exist on their computer. So there would be nothing to send out unless the person on the other end legitimately had hacked into the computer and sent out spurious information.”
All of the victims who’ve come forward so far are women, though Stafford doesn’t know if that’s a coincidence or whether women are being targeted.
Weyburn police hadn’t heard anything about this scam before.
“We’ve heard nothing in the policing community, or from the cyber crimes investigators specifically about this type of scam – whether it’s being successful, whether people are actually being victimized because they maybe did have this type of content on their computers,” explained Stafford.
He said if people do get an email like this, the best course of action is just to ignore it, but also to make sure to let police know because they like to keep track of things like this.