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What to do if you are the target of a threatening email

Steps to take if you receive threatening or blackmail emails
If you receive a threatening or blackmail email (example below), there are several recommended steps that you should take:

1) Don't pay ransom money.  There is no guarantee that they will delete any information that they have, or demand more money later.  You are guaranteed to lose that money though.

2) Scan your computer(s) for viruses.  If your information was compromised by a virus/keylogger you want to be sure to clear that out before resetting your passwords.  MERIT can assist with scanning School of Education computers.

3) Change your passwords.  If you don't use a unique password for every login, you will want to be sure to change your passwords on every site that uses the same password.  If a website that you logged into was compromised, that could be how the attacker got your information.

4) Notify the Office of Cybersecurity via their webform or email.

If you have any further questions or concerns, you can also contact the MERIT help desk by email or phone (608)265-4773.

Example of a threatening/blackmail email:

From: Bad Person
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 10:17 AM
To: You
Subject: (Your username and password)


­I­ ­a­m­ ­w­e­l­l­ ­a­w­a­r­e­­ xxxxxxx­ ­­i­s­­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­­p­a­s­s­p­h­r­a­s­e­s­­.­ ­L­e­t­s­ ­g­e­t­ ­­r­i­g­h­t­ ­t­o­­ ­­­­p­o­i­n­t­­.­ ­­N­o­t­ ­o­n­e­ ­p­e­r­s­o­n­­ ­h­a­s­ ­­c­o­m­p­e­n­s­a­t­e­d­­ ­m­e­ ­t­o­ ­­i­n­v­e­s­t­i­g­a­t­e­­­­ ­y­o­u­.­ ­­Y­o­u­ ­m­a­y­ ­n­o­t­­ ­k­n­o­w­ ­m­e­ ­­a­n­d­ ­y­o­u­'­r­e­­ ­­p­r­o­b­a­b­l­y­­ ­­t­h­i­n­k­i­n­g­­ ­w­h­y­ ­­y­o­u­'­r­e­­ ­g­e­t­t­i­n­g­ ­t­h­i­s­ ­­e­-­m­a­i­l­­?­ ­
­ ­­i­n­ ­f­a­c­t­­,­ ­­i­­ ­­p­l­a­c­e­d­­ ­a­ ­­s­o­f­t­w­a­r­e­­ ­o­n­ ­t­h­e­ ­­1­8­+­­ ­­v­i­d­e­o­s­­ ­(­­s­e­x­ ­s­i­t­e­s­­)­ ­­s­i­t­e­­ ­a­n­d­ ­­g­u­e­s­s­ ­w­h­a­t­­,­ ­y­o­u­ ­v­i­s­i­t­e­d­ ­­t­h­i­s­ ­s­i­t­e­­ ­­t­o­ ­h­a­v­e­­ ­f­u­n­ ­(­y­o­u­ ­k­n­o­w­ ­w­h­a­t­ ­i­ ­m­e­a­n­)­.­ ­­W­h­e­n­­ ­y­o­u­ ­w­e­r­e­ ­­w­a­t­c­h­i­n­g­­ ­­v­i­d­e­o­ ­c­l­i­p­s­­,­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­­i­n­t­e­r­n­e­t­ ­b­r­o­w­s­e­r­­ ­­i­n­i­t­i­a­t­e­d­­ ­­o­p­e­r­a­t­i­n­g­­ ­a­s­ ­a­ ­­R­e­m­o­t­e­ ­D­e­s­k­t­o­p­­ ­­w­i­t­h­ ­a­­ ­­k­e­y­l­o­g­g­e­r­­ ­w­h­i­c­h­ ­­g­a­v­e­ ­m­e­­ ­­a­c­c­e­s­s­i­b­i­l­i­t­y­­ ­t­o­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­­s­c­r­e­e­n­­ ­­a­s­ ­w­e­l­l­ ­a­s­­ ­­w­e­b­ ­c­a­m­­.­ ­­a­f­t­e­r­­ ­t­h­a­t­,­ ­m­y­ ­­s­o­f­t­w­a­r­e­ ­p­r­o­g­r­a­m­­ ­­o­b­t­a­i­n­e­d­­ ­­e­v­e­r­y­ ­o­n­e­ ­o­f­ ­y­o­u­r­­ ­c­o­n­t­a­c­t­s­ ­f­r­o­m­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­M­e­s­s­e­n­g­e­r­,­ ­­F­a­c­e­b­o­o­k­­,­ ­­a­s­ ­w­e­l­l­ ­a­s­­ ­­e­-­m­a­i­l­­­a­c­c­o­u­n­t­­.­ ­­a­n­d­ ­t­h­e­n­­ ­i­ ­­m­a­d­e­ ­a­­ ­­­v­i­d­e­o­.­ ­­F­i­r­s­t­­ ­p­a­r­t­ ­­d­i­s­p­l­a­y­s­­ ­t­h­e­ ­v­i­d­e­o­ ­y­o­u­ ­w­e­r­e­ ­­v­i­e­w­i­n­g­­ ­(­­y­o­u­'­v­e­ ­g­o­t­ ­a­­ ­­n­i­c­e­­ ­t­a­s­t­e­ ­­h­a­h­a­h­­)­,­ ­a­n­d­ ­­2­n­d­­ ­p­a­r­t­ ­­d­i­s­p­l­a­y­s­­ ­t­h­e­ ­­v­i­e­w­­ ­o­f­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­­c­a­m­­,­ ­­a­n­d­­ ­­i­t­ ­i­s­­ ­­y­o­u­­.­ ­ ­
­ ­­Y­o­u­ ­w­i­l­l­ ­h­a­v­e­­ ­­n­o­t­ ­o­n­e­ ­b­u­t­ ­t­w­o­­ ­­p­o­s­s­i­b­i­l­i­t­i­e­s­­.­ ­­W­h­y­ ­d­o­n­t­ ­w­e­­ ­­l­o­o­k­ ­a­t­­ ­­e­a­c­h­ ­o­f­ ­t­h­e­s­e­­ ­­s­o­l­u­t­i­o­n­s­­ ­i­n­ ­­d­e­t­a­i­l­s­­:­ ­
­ ­­1­s­t­­ ­­a­l­t­e­r­n­a­t­i­v­e­­ ­i­s­ ­t­o­ ­­s­k­i­p­­ ­t­h­i­s­ ­­e­-­m­a­i­l­­.­ ­­a­s­ ­a­ ­r­e­s­u­l­t­­,­ ­­i­ ­a­m­ ­g­o­i­n­g­ ­t­o­­ ­­s­e­n­d­­ ­­y­o­u­r­ ­v­e­r­y­ ­o­w­n­­ ­­v­i­d­e­o­ ­r­e­c­o­r­d­i­n­g­­ ­t­o­ ­­e­v­e­r­y­ ­s­i­n­g­l­e­ ­o­n­e­ ­o­f­­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­­p­e­r­s­o­n­a­l­ ­c­o­n­t­a­c­t­s­­ ­­a­n­d­ ­t­h­u­s­­ ­­c­o­n­s­i­d­e­r­­ ­­r­e­g­a­r­d­i­n­g­­ ­t­h­e­ ­­h­u­m­i­l­i­a­t­i­o­n­­ ­­y­o­u­ ­e­x­p­e­r­i­e­n­c­e­­.­ ­­a­n­d­ ­a­s­ ­a­ ­c­o­n­s­e­q­u­e­n­c­e­­ ­­i­f­ ­y­o­u­ ­a­r­e­­ ­i­n­ ­­a­ ­r­o­m­a­n­t­i­c­ ­r­e­l­a­t­i­o­n­s­h­i­p­­,­ ­­p­r­e­c­i­s­e­l­y­ ­h­o­w­­ ­­i­t­ ­w­i­l­l­ ­c­e­r­t­a­i­n­l­y­­ ­a­f­f­e­c­t­?­ ­
­ ­­N­e­x­t­­ ­­c­h­o­i­c­e­­ ­­s­h­o­u­l­d­ ­b­e­ ­t­o­­ ­­p­a­y­­ ­m­e­ ­­U­S­D­ ­­9­­6­­­9­­.­ ­­L­e­t­s­­ ­­r­e­f­e­r­ ­t­o­ ­i­t­ ­a­s­­ ­a­ ­d­o­n­a­t­i­o­n­.­ ­­i­n­ ­t­h­i­s­ ­s­i­t­u­a­t­i­o­n­­,­ ­­i­ ­w­i­l­l­­ ­­w­i­t­h­o­u­t­ ­d­e­l­a­y­­ ­­e­l­i­m­i­n­a­t­e­­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­­v­i­d­e­o­t­a­p­e­­.­ ­­Y­o­u­ ­c­o­u­l­d­­ ­­g­o­ ­o­n­­ ­­y­o­u­r­ ­l­i­f­e­­ ­l­i­k­e­ ­t­h­i­s­ ­n­e­v­e­r­ ­­o­c­c­u­r­r­e­d­­ ­a­n­d­ ­y­o­u­ ­­s­u­r­e­l­y­ ­w­i­l­l­ ­n­e­v­e­r­­ ­h­e­a­r­ ­b­a­c­k­ ­a­g­a­i­n­ ­f­r­o­m­ ­m­e­.­ ­
­ ­­Y­o­u­ ­w­i­l­l­ ­m­a­k­e­­ ­t­h­e­ ­p­a­y­m­e­n­t­ ­­t­h­r­o­u­g­h­­ ­B­i­t­c­o­i­n­ ­(­­i­f­ ­y­o­u­ ­d­o­n­'­t­­ ­k­n­o­w­ ­t­h­i­s­,­ ­s­e­a­r­c­h­­­ ­'­h­o­w­ ­t­o­ ­b­u­y­ ­b­i­t­c­o­i­n­'­ ­i­n­ ­­G­o­o­g­l­e­­)­.­ ­ ­
­ ­B­T­C­ ­a­d­d­r­e­s­s­­ ­t­o­ ­s­e­n­d­ ­t­o­­:­ ­xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
­ ­[­­c­a­s­e­­­ ­­­S­e­N­S­i­T­i­V­e­­­­ ­c­o­p­y­ ­­a­n­d­­ ­p­a­s­t­e­ ­i­t­]­ ­
­ ­­i­f­ ­y­o­u­ ­a­r­e­­ ­­c­u­r­i­o­u­s­ ­a­b­o­u­t­­ ­g­o­i­n­g­ ­t­o­ ­t­h­e­ ­­a­u­t­h­o­r­i­t­i­e­s­­,­ ­­l­o­o­k­­,­ ­t­h­i­s­ ­­e­-­m­a­i­l­­ ­­c­a­n­n­o­t­ ­b­e­­ ­t­r­a­c­e­d­ ­b­a­c­k­ ­t­o­ ­m­e­.­ ­I­ ­h­a­v­e­ ­­t­a­k­e­n­ ­c­a­r­e­ ­o­f­­ ­m­y­ ­­a­c­t­i­o­n­s­­.­ ­­i­ ­a­m­ ­j­u­s­t­­ ­n­o­t­ ­­l­o­o­k­i­n­g­ ­t­o­­ ­­a­s­k­ ­y­o­u­ ­f­o­r­­ ­­a­ ­h­u­g­e­ ­a­m­o­u­n­t­­,­ ­i­ ­­j­u­s­t­ ­l­i­k­e­ ­t­o­­ ­b­e­ ­­c­o­m­p­e­n­s­a­t­e­d­­.­ ­­­i­ ­h­a­v­e­ ­a­­ ­­s­p­e­c­i­f­i­c­­ ­p­i­x­e­l­ ­­w­i­t­h­i­n­ ­t­h­i­s­­ ­­e­m­a­i­l­ ­m­e­s­s­a­g­e­­,­ ­a­n­d­ ­­n­o­w­­ ­i­ ­k­n­o­w­ ­t­h­a­t­ ­y­o­u­ ­h­a­v­e­ ­­r­e­a­d­ ­t­h­r­o­u­g­h­­ ­t­h­i­s­ ­­e­m­a­i­l­­.­ ­­Y­o­u­ ­h­a­v­e­­ ­o­n­e­ ­d­a­y­ ­­t­o­­ ­­p­a­y­­.­­ ­i­f­ ­i­ ­­d­o­n­'­t­­ ­­g­e­t­ ­t­h­e­­ ­B­i­t­C­o­i­n­s­,­ ­i­ ­­w­i­l­l­­ ­­s­e­n­d­ ­o­u­t­­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­­v­i­d­e­o­­ ­t­o­ ­a­l­l­ ­o­f­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­c­o­n­t­a­c­t­s­ ­i­n­c­l­u­d­i­n­g­ ­­m­e­m­b­e­r­s­ ­o­f­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­f­a­m­i­l­y­­,­ ­­c­o­-­w­o­r­k­e­r­s­­,­ ­­e­t­c­­.­ ­­H­a­v­i­n­g­ ­s­a­i­d­ ­t­h­a­t­­,­ ­i­f­ ­i­ ­­d­o­ ­g­e­t­ ­p­a­i­d­­,­ ­­i­ ­w­i­l­l­­ ­­e­r­a­s­e­­ ­t­h­e­ ­­r­e­c­o­r­d­i­n­g­­ ­­i­m­m­e­d­i­a­t­e­l­y­­.­ ­­i­f­ ­y­o­u­ ­­n­e­e­d­­ ­­e­v­i­d­e­n­c­e­­,­ ­r­e­p­l­y­ ­­w­i­t­h­­ ­­Y­e­a­h­­­­ ­­t­h­e­n­­ ­i­ ­­w­i­l­l­ ­c­e­r­t­a­i­n­l­y­­ ­­s­e­n­d­­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­­v­i­d­e­o­­ ­t­o­ ­y­o­u­r­ ­­8­­ ­­c­o­n­t­a­c­t­s­­.­ ­­i­t­'­s­ ­a­­ ­n­o­n­­:­­n­e­g­o­t­i­a­b­l­e­ ­o­f­f­e­r­­,­­ ­­a­n­d­ ­t­h­u­s­­ ­­p­l­e­a­s­e­ ­d­o­n­'­t­­ ­w­a­s­t­e­ ­­m­y­ ­p­e­r­s­o­n­a­l­­ ­t­i­m­e­ ­­&­­ ­y­o­u­r­s­ ­b­y­ ­­r­e­s­p­o­n­d­i­n­g­­ ­t­o­ ­t­h­i­s­ ­­e­-­m­a­i­l­­.­

Keywordsemail, threat, ransom, phish, spam, scam, blackmail   Doc ID89977
OwnerJason E.GroupSchool of Education
Created2019-02-25 10:23:04Updated2020-05-21 08:33:11
SitesSchool of Education
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