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Advisory Regarding Scam Emails

Posted by Calico UK - 12:00 on 26 September 2018

We've recently been contacted by customers who've received emails from ransomers saying that your accounts have been hacked, that they've infected your PC, that you've been caught doing this or that on webcam, that they've accessed your social media accounts, and that you need to pay up or else the webcam footage will be made public.

Here's an example of some emails we've seen:

This sort of scam has been around for years. However the latest emails add a new twist of authenticity by appearing to come from your own email address and by including what they say is your password.

What should you do if you receive one of these emails? First, don't send any money. These emails are part of scam. It's all lies. No webcam footage exists. Your PC won't have been infected by them.

Secondly, check the password that is included in the email. In the cases we've seen, the example passwords they display are close to the recipients' password, so it makes it look as if the ransomers are telling the truth. We think that they've managed to get hold of a set of old passwords from an old shopiing site or social media site, and are trying their luck. If the password matches a password you use, then you need to update your passwords wherever you've used it. 

Thirdly, if you use the same password for several different logins, please change your policy and use separate passwords for each login - this will reduce your vulnerability when a password gets leaked.

Fourthly, although the emails appear to come from your own email address, they don't. It's very easy for spammers/hackers to spoof the sender's email address. If you ever get an email which looks as if it came from your own account, be on the alert.

Lastly, if in doubt, please forward the email to us for inspection.

Your Comments

Comment by Verity at 11:28 on 08 October 2018.
Very helpful Kirsty as usual, thank you. Definitely an old password - may be associated with an email I received from an old associate with a spurious 'invoice' email attached which like a numpty I opened. I am now using an online password keeper.
Comment by Anni at 15:49 on 01 November 2018.
So helpful and reassuring Kirsty. While I knew there couldn't be footage of their ludicrous allegations, and I use different regularly changed passwords, it was nonetheless unsettling!
Comment by Marilyn at 15:48 on 14 December 2018.
The above email is almost exactly what I recently received threatening to download a virus onto my computer if I don't pay money into their bank account. I was accused of being a pervert for visiting an adult site. I might have taken it more seriously if they hadn't called me a pervert. The only sites I visit are nature and environmental sites.
Comment by Sheelagh Southwell at 15:05 on 21 December 2018.
Thanks for that information Kirsty. I will now go and do what you advised and I missed!! and will read all your emails more carefully now!!!
Comment by Moray Firth Dist. Ltd at 14:47 on 13 March 2019.
Thanks for your help.
Comment by Tony Norman at 10:20 on 01 April 2019.
Thanks, Kirsty, for responding to my concerns, as always, setting my mind at rest. I will install a spam filter as you suggest
Comment by S Rosser at 12:36 on 01 August 2020.
Is this advice still current? Had another one of these today but not mirroring my email address this time. Stupid people - wasting everyone’s time and energy!!
Comment by Calico UK at 16:55 on 03 August 2020.
Yes, we still see these emails doing the rounds. You are always welcome to forward an email to our support team if you'd like us to check something you've received. Via or call our team on 01381 600580.

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