In today’s digital world, email is one of the main ways we contact each other. 14 years ago, Congress signed a set of rules called the CAN-SPAM Act designed to protect consumer privacy and limit the amount and type of unsolicited marketing messages they receive.
New Extortion Scam Tied to Recent Breaches
The Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3) recently released a public service announcement about a possible link between data extortion scams and several recent breaches.
According to the announcement, hackers are e-mailing victims of the breach and threatening to release their personal information to friends, family, coworkers, and social media contacts unless they pay a ransom.
Hackers attempt to force the victims to pay them using Bitcoin, a largely anonymous online form of currency. Ransoms can be anywhere from $250-1200.
If you have received any emails like those described in the PSA, here’s what you should do:
- Do not open any emails or attachments from unknown senders.
- Do not communicate with the sender.
- Immediately contact your local FBI office and place a report with the IC3 at ic3.gov. Include the phrase “Extortion E-mail Scheme,” the bitcoin address, and the e-mail itself, along with any other relevant information you may have.
Here are a few tips for social media and e-mail you can employ right now to help protect you and your network:
- Upgrade to strong, memorable and hard-to-crack passwords for all your accounts.
- Remove all sensitive information and photos of yourself from social media and your phone.
- Make sure all information you upload to the Internet is through a secure channel with a URL that begins with https.
Find more tips for online safety on our blog or in the PSA.