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Ignore this Bitcoin porn scam

Here’s what to do if you get a suspicious email

Phishing

This is how we imagine phishing scams to look like in real life (via Shutterstock).

We’re posting the full-text of a scam email so that if you google it, you can read this sentence: Ignore this Bitcoin scam.

We got this from a friend of ours recently. It’s just a riff on a common scam. Here’s the text:

You can visit the police station but nobody will solve your problem. I dont live in your country. So they can not trace my location even for 4 weeks. Your device is infected by our virus. I turned on your webcam, at the moment you went to the porn-site. Now I have the record of you, caressing yourself. Having VNC session we downloaded your contactlist so if you ask me to delete this compromising evidence we need to be paid 400 dollars in bitcoin. Use this wallet address to pay ( 16MDpUpkbhJkL8aUi8xxSbMAdjbJzDTyF5 ) (use it like your credit card number) I give you 30 hours after reading this message to complete the transaction. It is not necessary to write me that you have sent money to me. This bitcoin wallet was connected to you, my system will delete everything automatically after payment confirmation. You can get 48 h just write back +. Good luck. Dont forget about the ignominy.

If you’ve gotten this email, don’t worry. “Ignore it,” says cybersecurity expert and founder of SecureMySocial Joseph Steinberg.  “This is a known scam.”

Indeed, this is the lazy version of a more well-known scam that came across my desk before. Earlier this year, I was doing a story about the Trump.dating website (which exists) when I got a very sexy invite. Someone wanted to video chat. A video them popped up of a cute girl who said her microphone wasn’t working. Then she started typing. In the chat window “she” made a very compromising offer.

Trump.dating

This is what pops up when you try out Trump.dating (she will NOT be replacing John Kelly as chief of staff).

What was supposed to happen next is that the victim would pleasure him or herself while “she” did a striptease on the video. “She” would pause every few seconds to type on her keyboard. Then messages would come up asking the victim to strip down. The victim would then get another message from someone claiming that they had a compromising screen recording. The next message would say that they also had all their contacts and were going to send the victim’s boss and mother the photos unless the victim sent money to a PayPal account.

Brendan Sullivan

Brendan Sullivan did NOT fall for the Trump.dating scam (though he would have if “she” had said something like, “I really like your last set. Where are you deejaying next?”).

[In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t know about this scam from… er…firsthand experience.]

What’s shocking about this Bitcoin twist is that presumably people who know how to get $400 in bitcoin together in 30 hours wouldn’t be dumb enough to fall for this scam. Even on Coinbase—the Bank of America of crypto—it would take four days from purchase for the bitcoin to credit your account.

bitcoin scam

Don’t send bitcoin to this scam account!

Interestingly, when you lookup the public key to that wallet address, it shows that no activity has ever occurred, meaning that no one has fallen for this exact email. However, a recent study by Forbes found that over $250,000 in bitcoin has changed hands this way.

Don’t fall for it. These scams are usually just phishing for morons. In the rare case that you do go whole-hog and they send you back screenshots, experts still say you’re better off ignoring it and reporting the account.

And you should be careful talking to strangers on the internet, anyway.

Brendan Sullivan is a writer, producer, and author of the memoir Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives. Disclosure: he owns cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter.

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