MailGuard has warned there’s a new email scam making the rounds and it’s targeting innocent Aussies.
The email security service says scammers are tricking victims into believing they have obtained sensitive, deeply personal and embarrassing information about them and threatening to publish the content online unless a ransom payment is made in bitcoin.
MailGuard said there are several variations of the email scam, with each attempting to blackmail their target, and advised Aussies to remember the scammers are lying and are trying to pray on people’s insecurities.
The first variation includes extortion emails informing recipients their passwords have been hacked. Attackers place the victim’s password within the email body or in the subject of the email.
MailGuard said it’s likely that the scammers obtained the credentials from a password list that included the recipient’s email address.
“In most cases, the credentials are outdated, however those that are clinging on to old passwords, could still be fooled. Recipients should change passwords immediately if still in use,” the email security service warned.
A different variation of the email scam tells victims that the attackers have installed special software on their devices to record them when they are viewing adult content.
“This attack preys on a fear of humiliation and embarrassment,” MailGuard said.
A third email scam takes a similar approach, informing victims that a “trojan virus” has been installed on their system that has been monitoring the user’s activity for an extended period of time.
“It is key to remember that these scams are all fake, and cybercriminals do not have any incriminating or personal information to use against you,” the security service advises.
To be safe, MailGuard suggests using unique passwords for every site you visit.
It comes after The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) warned Aussies to be on the lookout for tax-related scams ahead of November 21, when around one million Aussie taxpayers will need to make payment to the tax authority or face interest charges on their debt.
November is prime scam time for the ATO as scammers get craftier in their efforts to fool taxpayers into handing over their cash. Millions of Australians end the financial year in debt to the tax office and have to repay the sum by November 21, or set up a payment plan with the department.
However, the ATO says it doesn’t matter if you don’t owe the department money, as scammers run sophisticated fear-mongering campaigns that fool people into handing over their cash every year.