The Bermuda Police Service said they are “aware of threatening messages being sent electronically, [e-mail, social media], to members of the public.”

A police spokesperson said, “Recipients are being threatened with having their online activity made public unless they purchase varying amounts of cryptocurrency within a stipulated time period and return it to the person sending the threatening message, usually within 24 hours.

“This is yet another form of phishing. Spotting a phishing email is becoming increasingly difficult, and many scams will even trick computer experts. However, there are some common signs to look out for:

  • “Authority – Is the sender claiming to be from someone official [like your bank, doctor, a solicitor, government department]? Criminals often pretend to be important people or organisations to trick you into doing what they want.
  • “Urgency – Are you told you have a limited time to respond [like in 24 hours or immediately]? Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences.
  • “Emotion – Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful, or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, make false claims of support, or tease you into wanting to find out more.

Make yourself a harder target:

  • “Criminals use publicly available information about you to make their phishing messages more convincing. This is often gleaned from your website and social media accounts [information known as a ‘digital footprint’]. You can make yourself less likely to receive phishing emails by doing the following:
  • “For your social media applications and other online accounts, review your privacy settings.
  • “Think about what you post [and who can see it].
  • “Be aware of what your friends, family, and colleagues say about you online, as this can also reveal information that may be used to target you.
  • “If you do spot a suspicious email, flag it as Spam/Junk in your email inbox. Tell your email provider you’ve identified it as potentially unsafe.
  • “Delete the email. Do not respond or click on any of the attachments or links, if any.
  • “Do not provide any sensitive information
  • “Install antivirus software or other security protection if you currently do not have it available on your computer
  • “Change your computer, email, and other social media passwords using a strong password combination consisting of capital and lower case letter, numbers, and symbols.
  • “Cover your computer’s camera lens.”
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