Phishing Scams With a Twist: Blackmail That Includes Your Passwords

Your email continues to be the main way hackers try to worm their way into your data. Often this takes the form of a phishing scam, where they pretend to be someone important such as your bank, relative, or government, and you must click on this attachment or link to fix an issue.

Over time, these scams have become more elaborate.

Phishing Scams Containing Passwords

The new wrinkle works similar to the way most phishing scams operate: you’ll receive an email from a hacker claiming they accessed your data, caught you looking at something online you shouldn’t have been-often this is porn or they’ll state they accessed your webcam while you were looking at porn.

As creepy as this sounds, the further you dig into the email the more scammy it sounds. In most instances, the hacker provides you with two options. The first is you can ignore the warning altogether. If you do this, they’ll send the video of you looking at porn or your data to everyone you know. The more “convenient” option is to fork over money. After paying the ransom, the hacker will simply destroy whatever they have on you and you both move on peacefully.

To make this phishing scam more akin to a Black Mirror episode, hackers have a new wrinkle they employ. They’ll include one of your passwords into the subject line of the email. This wrinkle is an attention-grabber and it could prompt you to pay the ransom. After all, if they have one of my passwords, they must have more on me, right?

The simple answer is no. Here’s why.

Illustration by Hack Read

How Do They Have My Password?

Think about the passwords you use for your email, bank, and social media accounts. Unless it’s work related, how often do you change your passwords? If we’re being honest, some of us have passwords that are really old.

Now think about this in the context of hacking. There’s an elaborate black market where hackers intercept data then sell it online. The seller can then package the data in any way they see fit, with this scam being one of the more elaborate ways. While on the surface it seems more legitimate, it’s a craftier way to trick you.

The sad reality is there’s more of our information floating around then we would like. However, by understanding this reality, it can help us stay on guard when or if we receive these phishing emails.

How Do I Avoid Phishing Scams?

The easiest way to avoid this newest one is to change your passwords regularly. Use a password manager to assist you with this. Since you’re changing your passwords often, even if you receive a phishing email like the one we’ve detailed, you’ll realize immediately it’s an old password.

In the meantime, if you have become a victim of a phishing scam and have your data breached because of it, know there’s help. The team at Outsource Data Recovery knows how to recover your files even in difficult situations like these. Our friendly and professional approach will put you at ease, so contact us today to learn more!