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April 04, 2019

Scam Alert: No, the CIA Is Not Investigating You for Porn Viewing

For at least the last year, an email scam has targeted porn fans—and non-fans as well—sending messages demanding money in exchange for not revealing a user’s internet porn-watching habits. As AVN.com reported, a version of the scam that circulated last year claimed to “have installed malware on an adult video site,” which tracked the user’s online activity. Now, a more exotic—and sinister—version of the scam has been targeting internet users, according to a report by the computer security blog Intego. In the new version, the scammers claim to be from the United States Central Intelligence Agency. In the new emails, users find themselves accused not merely of watching porn, but of storing files on their computers containing images of underage “children.” The supposed letters, an example of which may be seen at this link, claim to come from a “technical collection officer working for the Central Intelligence Agency,” even giving the alleged name of the “technical collection officer.”  The emails are given an added “official” touch by containing their threatening messages not on the text of the email, but in an attached PDF—which is protected by a password. The text of each email contains the password. The PDF concludes with the bogus “technical collection officer” requesting the equivalent of $5,000 in Bitcoin cryptocurrency, and once the money is paid, the “technical collection officer” promises “take care of all the files linked to you and you can rest assured no one will bother you.” Why a CIA officer would give his or her name on a message that appears to be official CIA stationery, and then make a blatant blackmail attempt, is not explained—but should be a red flag. “It is important to stress that no matter how scary these emails may appear, they are just scams,” wrote the tech site Bleeping Computer. “Numerous people have reported receiving them, the CIA is not investigating you, and you should not make any payments to the listed bitcoin addresses.” Photo By Duffman / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

 
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