Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video What do I do when I get a blackmail email?, part of Tech Simplified: Everyday Tech Questions.
(mysterious music) - So what did we get from that hack? - Email addresses, names, and passwords. - (sighs) No credit cards? Can't do much with just passwords. - Oh really? Hello, Maureen. We have full control over your account. If you don't pay us $500, we'll send your most embarrassing photos to all your contacts. Don't believe us? We know your name, Maureen. We know your password, rainbowkitten123. We know everything. - Well, that was scary. That email got your attention, didn't it? That's what they wanted. But what do I need to do when I get a blackmail email? It will be okay. Some data thieves may only have the last four digits of your phone number. Or they may have gotten one of your passwords from a website hack. But they'll use that and claim they know everything. The common theme from a blackmail email is that they want you to believe that they know more than they really do. If they claim they have compromising pictures or webcam footage of you but only scare you with a password, they probably don't have anything more than that password. They probably also sent out similar emails to thousands of people hoping even one person will bite so that they'll make some easy money. It's important for you to know that you didn't do anything wrong or anything to cause this. If they have a password of yours, most likely they got it through another company or a website's data breach that you couldn't have helped or done anything to prevent. So what should you do? Well, let's start with some don'ts. Don't panic. Also, don't respond to any emails or click any links in the email. And most definitely do not send any money. On the other hand, do change any login that uses that password that they reveal they have. Also, delete your browser history and run a virus and malware check on your computer. That's it. That's all you need to do. - It's been days. They don't call. They don't write. I don't think we're going to get a response. Was I not scary enough? - No, no, no, don't worry. You were very scary. (lively music)