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Oregon AG warns of increase in ‘sextortion’ email scams

State of Oregon

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregonians have reported to the Oregon Department of Justice new waves of the 3-year-old "sextortion" email scam, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said Thursday.

The email will likely provide the reader one of their passwords, obtained through data breaches, and use fear tactics and threats unless the reader pays them money.

Recent reports indicate the current emails state the sender has collected "evidence" of the reader's frequenting of adult websites and will share the information with the reader's email and social media contacts unless the reader pays.

"If you receive one of these emails, please do not panic!" Rosenblum said. "It is highly unlikely that the cyber-blackmailer has actually invaded your computer."

The emails are sent in large batches of email addresses and associated passwords (usually obtained through large corporate data breaches). The scammers are hoping to "snag" a few people who do not regularly change their passwords or are scared into paying the money.

Below are a few warning signs:

1. The email contains a password you use online or have used in the past
2. The email is generic, not citing any specific websites the sender claims you've visited
3. The email is poorly worded and contains grammatical errors
4. You are given a short deadline to respond

If you've received one of these "sextortion" email scams and are currently using the password they list you should change that account's password immediately. If you have been a victim, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at or call 1-888-877-9392.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


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