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Police warn residents of email sextortion scam

The Durham police financial crimes unit is asking residents to be mindful of a recent increase in email sextortion scams in Durham Region.

Investigators have seen an increase in this scam where the victim receives a threatening email from an unfamiliar contact. The email claims that the recipient’s computer has been hacked, that the sender has captured video of them visiting pornographic websites, and threatens to share the video with the victim’s contacts if they do not pay, usually asking for the funds to be transferred in Bitcoin (BTC) to a wallet address.

The scammers apply pressure on the recipient by setting a short time limit.

These fraudulent emails attempt to prove their legitimacy by including one of the recipient’s passwords. In many cases, the password is being confirmed by recipients as an old password. These passwords were likely collected during previous frauds (e.g. phishing scam or database breach).

Police say the best way to protect yourself from this scam is to not open unsolicited emails and to not send money under pressure. In addition, a strong password or paraphrase should be used, a different password should be used for every account, personal and financial information should not be shared, and a computer’s operating and ant-virus software should be updated regularly.

Anyone who may have been a victim of fraud can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at