Nottinghamshire Police have tweeted a warning to online users about the dangers of so-called ‘sextorsion’ blackmail emails.
The emails claim the scammers have recorded secret video of users visiting pornographic sites and threaten to release it unless a payment is made.
The hackers also claim to have access to user’s passwords and have installed malware to monitor their search history.
Demands for money then follow, typically in a request for a Bitcoin payment, before the ‘content’ is deleted.
Bitcoin is the world’s first ‘crypto-currency’, an online alternative to regular forms of currency such as pounds and dollars.
Payments made to Bitcoin accounts can be very hard to trace, giving the scammers a form of safety net.
Anyone who receives such an email is requested to report it to Action Fraud and urged not to respond, pay the ransom or click on any links within the email.
Action Fraud can be contacted on 0300 123 2040.