Do not trust the 'Please Yourself' email scam

Also Known As: Please Yourself spam
Damage level: Medium

What is "Please yourself Email Scam"?

Like most email scams, this one is sent by scammers who seek to extort money from unsuspecting recipients. They claim that the recipient's computer is infected with malware, which allowed them to record a compromising video.

Scammers behind this email threaten to proliferate the video unless victims send a specific sum of money. We strongly recommend that you ignore this email and others of its kind.

Please yourself Email Scam spam campaign

Scammers claim that whoever received this email has infected their computer with trojan-type software. According to scammers, they used the malware to collect information such as contacts from email and social media accounts. They also recorded a split-screen video whereby the recipient can apparently be seen "pleasing himself" whilst watching a video on an adult website.

Scammers threaten to send this video to all of the recipient's contacts unless they receive $2500 (in Bitcoins) within five days. As mentioned, this email should not be trusted. Generally, scammers send these emails to many people and hope that at least some will fall for their scam. The best option is to simply ignore and delete such emails.

Threat Summary:
Name Please Yourself Email Scam.
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scammers claim that they recorded a compromising video of the recipient and will distribute it unless they are paid within five days.
Ransom Amount $2500 (in Bitcoins).
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 1GKqCo7eW71jVAdYgGSMJQ3G8btojw3CDw;
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Other examples of similar email scams are "On This Day I Hacked Your OS Email Scam", "I'm A Programmer Who Cracked Your Email Scam", and "Hacker Who Has Access To Your Operating System Email Scam". 

In most cases, scammers send the emails to trick recipients into believing that humiliating videos have been recorded or photos taken, and threaten to send them to other parties unless a specific sum of money (typically, in cryptocurrency) is paid. In fact, scammers/cyber criminals also use emails to proliferate various malware.

For example, malicious software such as TrickBot, Adwind, FormBook, LokiBot, and so on. They send emails that contain an attachment that, if opened, causes installation of high-risk malware.

Typically, they proliferate malware that can be used to steal personal, sensitive information such as passwords, logins, banking details, and to infect computers with other malware, etc. Cyber criminals also use emails to spread malicious software categorized as ransomware.

We receive a great deal of feedback from concerned users about this scam email. Here is the most popular question we receive:

Q: Hi pcrisk.com team, I received an email stating that my computer was hacked and they have a video of me. Now they are asking for a ransom in Bitcoins. I think this must be true because they listed my real name and password in the email. What should I do?

A: Do not worry about this email. Neither hackers nor cyber criminals have infiltrated/hacked your computer and there is no video of you watching pornography. Simply ignore the message and do not send any Bitcoins. Your email, name, and password was probably stolen from a compromised website such as Yahoo (these website breaches are common). If you are concerned, you can check if your accounts have been compromised by visiting haveibeenpwned website.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

As mentioned above, computers become infected through emails that contain malicious attachments. Cyber criminals attach files such as Microsoft Office, PDF documents, archive files such as ZIP, RAR, executable files (.exe), JavaScript files, etc. Generally, they disguise the emails and/or files attached to them as important or official, and hope that recipients open them. The malicious attachments then install malware onto the computer. For example, when recipients open a malicious MS Office document, they are asked to enable editing (macros commands). If this permission is given, a malicious document starts installation of malware. Note that none of the attached files can harm operating systems if they remain unopened.

How to avoid installation of malware

Avoid using third party software downloaders, installers, unofficial websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule), or other such tools to download and/or install software. This should be done using only official websites and direct links. Installed software must be updated using implemented functions or tools designed by official software developers.

Third party (unofficial) tools are often used to distribute malware. Furthermore, attachments (or web links) included in irrelevant emails received from unknown/suspicious emails should not be opened. Software 'cracking' (activation) tools are illegal and often cause installation of malware.

Therefore, do not use tools of this type. Regularly scan the operating system with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and keep it up-to-date. If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Please yourself Email Scam" email message:

Subject: We got video with you

Hi, how you doing ?

We donít think that itís wrong to please yourself from ever and again.
Some things should remain private, and if your relatives and friends get to know about it, this will be something to worry about.
Something anybody would be desperately embarrassed by.

This will strongly influence your personal life and wellbeing.
For a long moment, we have been tracking your PC activity via a trojan virus that had been installed by yourself and that had infected your PC.
You had been infected after clicking on an poster on one of our virus-infected pornographic websites.

A trojan virus grants us access to your PC and any device that is connected to it, whether via wifi or bluetooth.
We have been monitoring your screen and everything you have been doing - through a live feed - and you had no idea of us doing this.
We also have access to your camera and microphone which we can switch on and off whenever we want.
We have been privately storing all data and info that we have been considering worthwhile.
This information included the following: contacts, social media, emails, etc.
We have recorded a video where you can be seen pleasing yourself. Moreover, weíve made a split-screen footage and shown the video you had been watching.
By clicking a button, I can send this blackmail material to all your contacts.
Want to prevent me from doing this? Send 2500$ to the following bitcoin address.

Bitcoin address: "1GKqCo7eW71jVAdYgGSMJQ3G8btojw3CDw"

Though verification is required, you can easily buy bitcoin. Google how to buy bitcoin.

As soon as payment is complete, your details and video footage will be deleted.
We are very generous, so you have 5 days to process the payment.
Otherwise, I will have to do what I have told you about hereinabove
We donít make mistakes.

Reporting this is useless, it is impossible to track this email address and these emails have been sent via an external server abroad.
These accounts have been hacked.
Should you report this or contact anybody about this, your evidence will be immediately sent out. Besides, we will do anything we can to distribute any other harmful information.
Once this email is opened, we will be notified, and since then the clock will start ticking
You have 5 days exactly, not a minute longer.

Best Regards

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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About PCrisk

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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