FBI Portland
Beth Anne Steele
(503) 460-8099
August 6, 2019

Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Pornography Scams

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against pornography scams.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center—or IC3.gov—has been receiving a number of reports lately from Oregonians targeted by pornography fraudsters. Here’s how it works: scammers will purchase personal information, such as email addresses and old passwords, on the dark web. They will then use this information to email you, claiming that they have hacked into your computer’s camera and have a video of you watching pornography. The fraudster will send you your old password as a scare tactic to convince you that he has successfully hacked into your computer. The scammer then threatens to release this video of you to your family, friends, or coworkers if you don’t pay up. Usually he wants payment in some form of cryptocurrency.

This kind of fraud can be both frustrating and frightening—but it is important to remember that it is a scam. In reality, the scammer likely does not have the contacts of your family and friends, nor does he have a video of you watching pornography. What he does have is your email address and a password that you once used.

If you get an email or text with this kind of scam, it is important to remember not to send the cryptocurrency—even if the scammer is using high-pressure tactics or threats to scare you. In addition, make sure you are frequently changing your passwords and using strong passwords on important accounts to guard against security breaches.

If you have been victimized by this online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.