Victoria Police say several reports of sextortion scam attempts have been made throughout Greater Victoria in the last few days. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

Victoria Police warn public of email-based “sextortion” scam

The widespread scam asks people for cash after revealing an old computer password

Victoria Police are warning the public of a circulating “sextortion” scam present across Greater Victoria, Sidney, North Saanich, the Lower Mainland and West Vancouver.

In the scam attempts, fraudsters send out emails containing a victim’s old password. The fraudsters claim that they captured a video recording of the victim watching pornography, and threaten to send the video to the victim’s contacts if they don’t make a payment.

Investigation has shown that the fraudsters are using lists of email addresses and passwords stolen through data breaches. Several high-profile data breaches over the last few years have resulted in hundreds of millions of email addresses and passwords being stolen by hackers, and posted in online lists. Scammers simply access the lists, and email the passwords to victims in an attempt to sound legitimate.

RELATED: B.C. Mounties say porn ransom demand is a scam

Police say that potential victims have not fallen for the scam, but some have taken their computers in for expensive and unnecessary security upgrades.

Investigators have not found an actual video in any of the reported incidents.

At least seven reports of the scam have been reported in the last few days.

Police are warning the public to change their passwords on a regular basis, and to keep aware of current scams to avoid becoming a victim.

For more information, you can head to vicpd.ca/fraud

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