I got an email like this today, and even knowing it seemed phishy, I started to panic sub-consciously. The subject line included a username and a password of mine that I have been using on various unimportant websites since I was a teenager. The email was fairly long and written using those weird characters spam emails often use, but it was fairly well written grammatically.
Essentially, I was told that this person had gained access to my phone, had recorded me, and unless I paid them $1900, they were going to send that recording to all of my contacts on Messenger, Facebook, and email. It said I had a certain amount of time to pay up, and that even if I went to the police there was no way the email could be traced. It even went so far as to say there was a specific pixel in the email showing that I had read it (pretty obvious bullshit here).
I slowed down, and showed it to a friend of mine, who quickly noticed it had to be a scam since I don’t have Facebook (kinda obvious in hindsight). He was immediately able to find a few articles online to confirm that this scam has been going on for a while now. The wording of the email I received was almost identical to the wording of the sample in the article.
As someone who has always has always been quite adept at recognizing scams, I have to say this one really got to me. Even knowing it’s a scam, I still can’t help but feel violated. No one wants to be confronted with the potential that there are some despicable creeps out there with compromising footage of their private lives, especially in these times, when there’s no telling what hackers on the dark web are capable of. I just wanted to share in case any one else here happens to get a similar email. Don’t let them get under your skin, and definitely don’t send them any money.