A Sydney woman has issued a warning after being targeted in a sextortion scam that left her “freaked out”.
Jessica* received the first of three suspicious emails back in November.
The email said the 28-year-old’s Zoom account had been hacked and she had been captured in intimate moments around her house.
It threatened to release footage of her to her friends, family and colleagues unless she gave up $2000 in bitcoin.
“When I first got it, I was like, that doesn’t sit right with me,” she told 7NEWS.com.au.
“Surely that’s a scam.
“I kind of like dismissed it a little bit and I deleted it.”
But three days later, Jessica received a follow-up email, which sparked some concern.
“It wasn’t a new email. It was a reply to the email that they’d sent me first,” she said.
“(It said) we know that you’ve opened this, there’s now a timer on you paying us this money before we release it to everyone that you know. I’ve never been followed up like this before.”
Despite being young and tech-savvy, Jessica said the emails left her second-guessing herself.
“I’ve always got my laptop open, “she said.
“I have a small apartment. I have housemates who often use my computer. I don’t know if this is real and if it’s really about me or they’ve caught intimate moments of my housemates.”
Jessica was also worried about what might have potentially been captured as she had been working from home and also had the Zoom app on her phone.
‘Seemed super real’
After mulling it over, Jessica decided to again ignore the email and told no one about it.
But a detail revealed in the third email prompted her to begin freaking out.
“About three or four days after, I got another email being like, ‘this is your final warning. You have 24 hours’,” she said.
And that’s when she raised the alarm with her housemates and boyfriend.
“I didn’t know if this is real or not, but it really started to freak me out.
“Even more scary with this third and final email is they sent me my password.
“It wasn’t the current password that I had on my email, but it was a previous password that I’d used.
“So to me it seemed super real.”
Jessica added some of the usual red flags that appeared in scam emails were not present in this one.
“The email address was just a normal name,” she said.
“And it was sent just to me.”
Jessica’s housemate ended up blocking the emails on her behalf and the 28-year-old “got on with my life”.
She now feels silly over the incident but is sending a warning to other people to be aware.
“Because I’ve grown-up as a Millennial, I’m like, ‘I know everything’. I’m never going to get scammed,” she said.
“But I was seriously considering that…