Published December 5, 2019
Members of the University at Buffalo have reported receiving an extortion scam via email, in which the sender claims to have sensitive information about you and demands payment.
The email claims that the recipient's account has been compromised, that the recipient has viewed pornography, and demands payment (often via crypto-currency like Bitcoin) to keep this from becoming public.
Please be assured that this is just a scam. While it is not impossible that the sender could have your password, the sender does not have evidence of you viewing pornography, and recipients should not pay the money.
Extortion is an attempt to obtain money from victims through the use of threats.
These scams are typically not targeted at a specific individual. Instead, they are sent out as automated mass-mailing campaigns, using leaked login information.
While the scammer may have access to one of your passwords (and therefore possibly your online accounts), it is unlikely the scammer has access to your computer, or any records or videos of you.
If you receive an email like the one described above, do not reply to the sender and ignore any requests made.
You can report these emails as a phishing attempt. Please contact the UBIT Help Center immediately if you think your UBITName account has been compromised, or if you have questions about your UBITName account.
If you’re dealing with a non-UB email account, be sure to contact your service provider. If you use that password on other accounts (tip: you should never use the same password on multiple sites!) go change those passwords as well.
A thief can often guess what other online accounts you have, especially if they have access to your email. If they have access to your email, your banks, social media pages, etc. are all at risk, since the attacker can click the "forgot my password" link on those sites and intercept the reset link sent to your compromised email.
If you have fallen for this scam and provided money to the attacker, you should contact your local law enforcement. If you are a member of the University at Buffalo, please contact University Police.