Prince William County police warn of sextortion scam

- Investigators in Prince William County say scammers are using an old technique to con victims out of their money.

Authorities warn that scammers are sending messages to unsuspecting victims stating they know their password.

Detectives believe the scammers are obtaining passwords from a popular data breach from over a decade ago.

The scammer claims to have video of the victim visiting a porn website and threatens to release it unless their demands are met.

A cyber security expert told FOX 5 that passwords are available on the Dark Web from security breaches that have occurred over the past decade.

“Take for instance Myspace – that is one of the older hacks," said Kurtis Minder, CEO and co-founder of GroupSense, a cyber security company based in Virginia. "They probably have your first name, last name, the e-mail address that you would have used to sign in to Myspace with, your password and maybe some other data like your address.”

Typically, investigators say the scammers demand payment in Bitcoin.

“It's built on technology called the blockchain and the core fundamentals of the blockchain is anonymity," said Minder. "Much of the illegal transactions that happen on the Dark Net and these underground marketplaces happen using digital currently like Bitcoin because they are largely untraceable."

Minder said while some of stolen data dates back several years, there is also a lot of current information being stolen because security breaches are constantly happening. A lot of the personal information available out there on the Dark Web is free, as some will post it for fun or to show off.

Minder recommends using password managing software like LastPass or 1Password to handle all of your passwords for you as there will be less information out there to be hacked.

Another recommendation is to cover your webcams with a sticker as the threat to install malware to use your camera to look at you is real.

Police are warning people that if they receive an email like this they should not respond and should not send money.

If you receive an email like this, you’re urged to call the Prince William County Police Department at (703) 792-6500.

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