This scam is obvious – right?

a shocked woman holding a laptop

I received what I immediately recognized as a scam in my inbox.

The crook claimed that they had been monitoring my naughty online activity and had attached a virus that was somehow gathering all my private records, plus they’d taken control of my webcam and caught me in some compromising positions. I had just 36 hours to get some crypto to their account or they’d share my compromising information with everyone I knew. I especially enjoyed the touch of addressing the message to “my prey.”

I fairly positive about all of you would spot this as an outright scam immediately. But sadly, there are a lot of people who won’t. Children are especially vulnerable to this type of scam, though I have seen cases in police reports of older folks falling for it as well.

I wanted to talk to you today about the techniques the scammers used to beat my spam filters. Generally 99.9% of messages like this head directly to your spam filter. But here’s how these creeps beat it. They replaced the a in hackers with an @ sign. They sent their ransom threats in the form of images instead of text. That prevents security software from reading the messaging.

If you follow a tech tips site like this, you probably aren’t likely to fall for this, but someone you know just might. Do them a favor, bring these types of scams up, and let them know what’s happening. It’s especially important for kids to know that there are people out there playing these types of games.

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