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Financial Crime Trend Bulletin : Extortion Email Featuring a Password

Web camera in front of a laptop showing an exclamation mark on the screen.

Canadians are receiving a threatening email from an unfamiliar contact. The email claims to have gained access to the recipient’s computer, installed malware and recorded an explicit video of the recipient. The email sender threatens to send the video to the recipient’s contacts, if they do not pay money via bitcoin immediately. The fraudsters apply pressure on the recipient by setting a short time limit. 

These fraudulent emails attempt to prove the legitimacy of their claims by including one of the recipient’s passwords. In many cases, the password is being confirmed by recipients as an old password. These passwords were likely collected during previous frauds (e.g. phishing scam or database breach).  

Warning Signs – How to Protect Yourself

  • Do not open unsolicited emails. 
  • Do not send money under pressure. 
  • Use a strong password or passphrase. 
  • Use a different password for every account.
  • Do not share your personal or financial information.  
  • Regularly update your computer’s operating and anti-virus software. 

Read more about extortion scams at: If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at  

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