I need to start our conversation with bad news for you (Email Scam)

Exercise extreme caution if you receive an email that starts with “I need to start our conversation with bad news for you” as it is often used in a recent sextortion email campaign.

This email is a form of sextortion orchestrated by cybercriminals and internet fraudsters, and it’s vital to understand their tactics to protect yourself.

In these emails, scammers typically claim to possess sensitive information about the recipient and threaten to expose it to the recipient’s coworkers, family, relatives, and others unless a specific amount of money is paid.

Their primary objective is to create fear and pressure you into complying with their demands, which usually involve sending Bitcoin to a specified address.

It’s crucial to realize that these scammers often send these emails to thousands of recipients and do not specifically target you.

Important Note: Any information they claim to have, such as a few passwords or your desktop name, likely came from a previously leaked database rather than from any supposed “malware” they installed to track you.

In any case, it is imperative not to pay the requested amount and to completely disregard these blackmail emails.

Image of the said scam email:

I need to start our conversation with bad news for you Scam

Transcript of the email in text:

Payment associated to your account.

Hi there!

Unfortunately, I need to start our conversation with bad news for you.
Around few months back I managed to get full access to all devices of yours,
which are used by you on a daily basis to browse internet.
Afterwards, I could initiate monitoring and tracking of all your activities on the internet.

I am proud to share the sequence of how it happened:
In the past I bought from hackers the access to various email accounts (today, that is rather a simple thing to do online).
Clearly, it was not hard at all for me to log in to your email account **Your email account**

A week after that, I had already managed to effortlessly install Trojan virus to Operating Systems of all devices that are currently in your use,
and as result gained access to your email. To be honest, that was not really difficult at all (because you were eagerly opening the links from your inbox emails).
I know, I am a genius. (=

With help of that software, I can gain access to
all controllers in your devices (such as video camera, keyboard and microphone).
As result, I downloaded to my remote cloud servers all your personal data, photos and other information including web browsing history. Likewise, I have complete access to all your social networks, messengers, chat history, emails, as well as contacts list.
My intelligent virus unceasingly refreshes its signatures (due to its driver-based nature), and hereby stays unnoticed by your antivirus software.

Herbey, I believe that now you finally start realizing how I could easily remain unnoticed all
this while until this very letter…
While collecting information related to you, I had also unveiled that you are a true fan of **** sites.
You truly enjoy browsing through adult sites and watching ***** vids, while playing your ***** solo games.
Bingo! I also recorded several filthy scenes with
you in the main focus and montaged some ***** videos,
which demonstrate your passionate
********** and *** sessions.

In case you still don’t believe me, all I need is just one-two mouse clicks to make all your unmasking videos become available to your friends, colleagues, and even relatives.
Well, if you still doubt me, I can easily make recorded videos of your ******** become a public.
I truly believe that you surely would avoid that from happening, taking in consideration the type of the *** videos you love watching, (you are clearly aware of what I mean) it will result in a huge disaster for you.

Well, there is still a way to settle this tricky situation in a peaceful manner:
You will need to transfer $1390 USD to my account (refer to Bitcoin equivalent based on the exchange rate at the moment transfer), so once funds transfer is complete, I will straight away proceed with deleting all that ***** content from servers once and for all.

Afterwards, you can consider that we never met before. You have my honest word,
that all the harmful software will also be deactivated and deleted from all your devices currently in use. Worry not, I keep my promises. That is truly a win-win solution that comes at a relatively reduced cost,
mostly knowing how much effort I spent on monitoring your profile and traffic for a considerably long time.
In event that you have no idea about means of buying and transferring bitcoins –
don’t hesitate to use any search engine for your assistance (e.g., Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.).

My bitcoin wallet is as follows:
1E8qLXPdRHLKcDgFch DJpjNfAQc3XMLEHn

An important notice: I have specified my Bitcoin wallet with spaces,
hence once you carry out a transfer, please make sure that you key-in my bitcoin address without spaces to be sure that your funds successfully reach my wallet.
I have allocated 48 hours for you to do that, and the timer started right after you opened this
very email (2 days to be exact).

Don’t even think of doing anything of the following:
! Abstain from attempting to reply me (this email was created by me inside your inbox page and the return address was generated accordingly). ! Abstain from attempting to get in touch with police or any other security services. Moreover, don’t even think of sharing this to you friends. Once I discover this (apparently, that is absolutely easy for me, taking in consideration that I have complete control over all systems you use) –
***** video will straight away be made public. ! Don’t even think of attempting to find me – that is completely useless. Don’t forget that all cryptocurrency transactions remain completely anonymous.
! Don’t attempt reinstalling the OS on all your devices or getting rid of them. That won’t lead you to success either,
because I have already saved all videos at my
remote servers as a backup.

Things you should not be concerned about: ! That your funds transfer won’t reach my wallet.
-Worry not, I can see everything, hence after you finish the transfer, I will get a notification right away

! Don’t attempt reinstalling the OS on all your devices or getting rid of them. That won’t lead you to success either,
because I have already saved all videos at my remote servers as a backup.
Things you should not be concerned about: ! That your funds transfer won’t reach my wallet.
– Worry not, I can see everything, hence after you finish the transfer, I will get a notification right away
(trojan virus of mine uses a remote-control feature, which functions similarly to
TeamViewer).
! That I will still distribute your videos although you make the funds transfer.
-My word, I have no intention or interest in
continuing making your life troublesome. Anyway, If I truly wanted that, it would happen long time ago without me notifying you!

Everything can be settled in a peaceful and just way!
And lastly… make sure you don’t get caught afterwards in such type of incidents anymore! My fair advice – ensure you change all your passwords on a regular basis.

How to protect yourself against these emails

Not falling for scams is crucial. But understanding how to safeguard yourself matters even more.

If you’ve unintentionally clicked a link or interacted with scammers, what’s your next move? Safeguarding your personal data and finances should be your utmost concern.

It is our mission to protect and inform users of the dangers of the internet. This is why below, we’ve gathered steps and methods that will help you when encountering malicious emails.

Enable two-factor authentication on all accounts

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra security layer to logins by requiring additional verification steps especially when accessing an account from a new device.

Think of it like entering a bar: first, one bouncer lets you in, and then another bouncer inside asks for more information before granting access.

Similarly, 2FA ensures that even if someone gets your login details, they can’t access your account without an extra verification step.

Using two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security. The platform usually asks for a verification code sent to your phone. Some platforms even let you use biometrics like facial recognition or fingerprint scans for added safety.

2FA is crucial for all accounts, safeguarding your identity and preventing unauthorized access, regardless of the account’s contents. Your account represents you, and it’s vital to keep strangers out. Only the true owner should have access, proven during login.

Two-factor authentication isn’t just for new device logins; it’s also used in situations requiring confirmation of the account owner’s actions. To enable 2FA, check the Settings section of the platform or website you’re using.

Use an antivirus program for better protection

While built-in systems like Windows Defender and Mac system software can block a lot of malware, they cannot detect all online threats. This is important because malicious emails often carry malicious attachments that pose as documents or files.

When executed, these attachments load malware onto your computer. Malware attacks are concerning as they put both your logged-in data and saved login information at risk, along with important files.

Although Windows Defender is strong, its creator, Microsoft does not solely focus on antivirus and overall cybersecurity. Especially in the case of serious malware attacks triggered by email attachments, dedicated malware-detecting software is essential.

While some argue that Windows Defender combined with common sense is enough to protect against malware, it’s important to recognize that not everyone is tech-savvy. Every user has important accounts requiring protection, regardless of their level of expertise.

A variety of antivirus programs are available, giving you options to choose what suits you best. Some are great at scanning, use fewer hardware resources, or excel at removing malware effectively. Research to find the antivirus that matches your daily computer needs.

Choosing the best antivirus can be intricate due to diverse user needs and ongoing debates. We’re not taking sides here; your choice matters most based on how you use your device.

Think before you click

It’s a common piece of advice, but it’s worth emphasizing: take a moment to think before acting. Whether you believe it or not, this simple pause can save you from potential harm.

Your instincts play a crucial role in your online safety. They might raise red flags when you encounter certain emails or attachments.

If you have a gut feeling that something’s not right, trust that instinct and give yourself a brief pause. This extra step can be the barrier between falling for a scam and protecting your information.

The consequences of clicking on suspicious links can be severe. Malicious software, often hidden in the background, can infiltrate your system and compromise your security.

What seems like a harmless click can lead to personal data breaches, financial loss, or even the control of your device by hackers.

Report the scam to prevent others from falling victim

The most important step now is reporting the scam. You’ve done well by avoiding the scam through your research and finding this information.

Remember, the next person might not be so lucky and could end up being a victim. This could result in significant financial loss and a long recovery process. You can prevent this by reporting the scam.

Your actions can protect others from falling into these traps. Reporting the scam might seem small, but it has a big impact.

When you report the scam, you help authorities track down the people behind these fraudulent emails. We’ve put together a list of where to report online scams, including organizations from different countries dedicated to fighting these frauds.

To make your report more effective, give the authorities complete details of the scam you have encountered. Share everything you know about it with the appropriate authorities and let them act on it.

Bottom Line

Now that you’re informed about the “I need to start our conversation with bad news for you” scam and malicious emails in general, remember to steer clear of suspicious messages and report them to authorities.

Doing this can help stop scams in their tracks, and these online fraudsters will be discouraged from making these deceptive emails. Byte-Size Onion wishes you a safe online experience and a great day ahead.

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