PORTSMOUTH – Three residents reported being targeted by scammers seeking virtual currency through a crime the Attorney General’s office is calling a “sexploitation scam.”
Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced Friday that, “during the past week, New Hampshire residents have reported receiving emails from scammers containing a current or former password in the subject line.”
“The scammers use the recipients’ passwords to create the impression that they have hacked into their computer and gained control of their webcam,” the AG announced.
The emails falsely inform recipients they have been recorded visiting pornographic websites and videos will be posted to their contacts unless the recipients purchase $2,000 in Bitcoin and transfer it to the scammer within 24 hours, MacDonald reported.
“It is unclear at this time how the scammers obtain recipients’ passwords,” the AG announced.
Portsmouth Police Capt. Darrin Sargent said Monday that three people in Portsmouth reported receiving those emails. He said the scam is nationwide and after local police posted a warning on Facebook, the local reports have slowed.
According to the Portsmouth public police log, two reports of sexploitation were made on Thursday and a third on Saturday.
The AG’s office advises residents to never send money or personal information to someone they don’t know.
“If you receive an email asking for money or personal information, you should delete the email immediately without engaging with the sender,” according to the AG. “If you receive this type of scam email, you should change all passwords immediately.”
As an additional precaution, MacDonald said, everyone should consider changing online passwords every few months, using strong passwords, and avoiding using the same password for multiple accounts.
“Any request to purchase Bitcoin or gift cards made by telephone or online should be considered to be a scam,” he said.
To report a scam, residents can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline by phone at 1-888-468-4454, by email at DOJ-CPB@doj.nh.gov, or through the website at www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints.