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A large number of Australians are being impacted by an email ‘sextortion’ campaign in which the cyber scammers responsible have threatened to release personal and sensitive information to the recipients’ contacts unless the scammer is paid in cash or bitcoin.

Alert status
HIGH

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is warning Australians to be alert to the scam after receiving more than 1,900 reports of the emails since 9 April.

The email scammers may also claim to have compromised a computer or other electronic device, and may include either a full or partial password that the recipient has used in the past.

Sextortion is a form of online blackmail where a perpetrator threatens to reveal intimate images of someone online, often to their friends and family, unless they pay a ransom (commonly in cryptocurrency). Typically, the scammers have no compromising information.

The spam emails appear to have begun on 9 April, with most recipients receiving their messages on this or the following day.  The name of the ‘sender’ was different in each instance of the email address, the ACSC has confirmed.

While the ACSC has not received any reports of financial loss, Australians are urged to not make payments, to cease all contact with the scammers, and delete the email.