FBI: extortion scammers more active due to stay-at-home orders

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The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned today of an increasing number of online extortion scam reports because a lot more people are being targeted due to the “stay-at-home” orders issued during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because large swaths of the population are staying at home and likely using the computer more than usual, scammers may use this opportunity to find new victims and pressure them into sending money,” the alert issued by FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) says.

“The scammers are sending e-mails threatening to release sexually explicit photos or personally compromising videos to the individual’s contacts if they do not pay. While there are many variations of these online extortion attempts, they often share certain commonalties.”

The FBI also reminds that fraudsters are known for adapting their scams to match current trends, with a focus on high impact events, high profile breaches, and other issues that could give them authenticity and make their targets react without second thinking their requests.

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