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How to recognize scams like Start The Conversation With Bad News

Also Known As: Start The Conversation With Bad News sextortion scam
Damage level: Medium

What is Start The Conversation With Bad News email scam?

The purpose of this email scam is to trick recipients into believing that their computers have been hacked and used to record an intimate video (a video of recipients visiting adult websites). Typically, scammers behind sextortion scams demand payment for not sharing the "recorded" video (or other intimate material).

Start The Conversation With Bad News email scam

Start The Conversation With Bad News sextortion scam in detail

Scammers claim that they have planted a Trojan virus on the recipients' computers. They also claim that they have hacked their email accounts. Their goal is to trick recipients into believing that they have recorded intimate videos and share them with all relatives, friends, and colleagues in contact lists of the recipients.

Scammers demand to be paid $1370 to the provided cryptocurrency wallet within 48 hours of receiving this email. They must not be paid: they do not have access to a computer, webcam, browsing history, or anything else they claim that they have access to.

Threat Summary:
Name Start The Conversation With Bad News Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim A computer has been infected with a Trojan that allowed scammers to record an intimate video
Ransom Amount $1370 in Bitcoins
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 1NYCdN9eBXhT4tPSpu4EhpjC9gHXLzipLL, 1N5J73F3gYPgZ8zkbnUhoryrYjQcqsA7St, 1JfnsTBvRQYNvzxYFTQBtEUgojmPy2vd6F, 19Ya5oeV6zqsHa9TSyurpeF1LpYJqm84Yv
Distribution methods Email
Damage Monetary loss
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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More examples of similar email scams

"I Would Like To Avoid Any Accusations Against You Email Scam", "Im In Possession Of All Of Your Private Data Email Scam", "Unfortunately, There Are Some Bad News For You Email Scam". Sometimes, these emails contain old passwords that recipients have been used some time ago. Scammers obtain passwords from leaked databases.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Emails can be used to deliver malware by sending malicious attachments or website links. The purpose of such emails is to trick recipients into executing (opening) a malicious file. Most threat actors use malicious MS Office documents, JavaScript files, PDF documents, archive files, or executable files to deliver malware via emails.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not open links or attachments in emails sent from suspicious (or unknown) addresses. Especially when received emails are not relevant. Always use official websites and direct links as sources for downloading software (or files). Never use third-party tools to update or activate installed software. It should be achieved using tools provided by the official software developers.

If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Appearance of the Start The Conversation With Bad News sextortion email:

start the conversation with bad news email scam appearance gif

Text presented in the email letter:

Subject: Don't forget to pay the tax within 2 days!

Hi. How are you?

I know, it's unpleasant to start the conversation with bad news, but I have no choice.
Few months ago, I have gained access to your devices that used by you for internet browsing.
Afterwards, I could track down all your internet activities.

Here is the history of how it could become possible:
At first, I purchased from hackers the access to multiple email accounts (nowadays, it is a really simple thing to do online).
As result, I could easily log in to your email account (-).

One week later, I installed Trojan virus in Operating Systems of all devices of yours, which you use to open email.
Frankly speaking, it was rather straightforward (since you were opening the links from your inbox emails).
Everything ingenious is quite simple. (o_0)!

My software enables me with access to all controllers inside devices of yours, like microphone, keyboard and video camera.
I could easily download to my servers all your private info, including the history of web browsing and photos.
I can effortlessly gain access to all your messengers, social networks accounts, emails, contact list as well as chat history.
Virus of mine constantly keeps refreshing its signatures (because it is driver-based), and as result remains unnoticed by your antivirus.

Hence, you can already guess why I stayed undetected all this while.

As I was gathering information about you, I couldn't help but notice that you are also a true fan of adult-content websites.
You actually love visiting porn sites and browsing through kinky videos, while pleasuring yourself.
I could make a few dirty records with you in the main focus and montaged several videos showing the way you reach orgasm while masturbating with joy.

If you are still uncertain regarding the seriousness of my intentions,
it only requires several mouse clicks for me to forward your videos to all your relatives, as well as friends and colleagues.
I can also make those vids become accessible by public.
I honestly think that you do not really want that to happen, considering the peculiarity of videos you like to watch,
(you obviously know what I mean) all that kinky content can become a reason of serious troubles for you.

However, we can still resolve this situation in the following manner:
Everything you are required to do is a single transfer of $1370 USD to my account (or amount equivalent to bitcoin depending on exchange rate at the moment of transfer),
and once the transaction is complete, I will straight away remove all the dirty content exposing you.
After that, you can even forget that you have come across me. Moreover, I swear that all the harmful software will be removed from all devices of yours as well.
Make no doubt that I will fulfill my part.

This is really a great deal that comes at a reasonable price, given that I have used quite a lot of energy to check your profile as well as traffic over an extended period of time.
If you have no idea about bitcoin purchase process - it can be straightforwardly done by getting all the necessary information online.

Here is my bitcoin wallet provided below: 1NYCdN9eBXhT4tPSpu4EhpjC9gHXLzipLL, 1N5J73F3gYPgZ8zkbnUhoryrYjQcqsA7St, 1JfnsTBvRQYNvzxYFTQBtEUgojmPy2vd6F, 19Ya5oeV6zqsHa9TSyurpeF1LpYJqm84Yv

You should complete the abovementioned transfer within 48 hours (2 days) after opening this email.

The following list contains actions you should avoid attempting:
#Do not try replying my email (email in your inbox was generated by me alongside with return email address).
#Do not try calling police as well as other security forces. In addition, abstain from sharing this story with your friends.
 After I find out (be sure, I can easily do that, given that I keep complete control of all your devices) - your kinky video will end up being available to public right away.
#Do not try searching for me - there is absolutely no reason to do that. Moreover, all transactions in cryptocurrency are always anonymous.
#Do not try reinstalling the OS on your devices or throwing them away. It is pointless as well, since all your videos have already been uploaded to remote servers.

The following list contains things you should not be worried about:
#That your money won't reach my account.
- Rest assured, the transactions can be tracked, hence once the transaction is complete,
 I will know about it, because I continuously observe all your activities (my trojan virus allows me to control remotely your devices, same as TeamViewer).
#That I still will share your kinky videos to public after you complete money transfer.
- Trust me, it's pointless for me to continue troubling your life. If I really wanted, I would make it happen already!

Let's make this deal in a fair manner!

Owh, one more thing...in future it is best that you don't involve yourself in similar situations any longer!
One last advice from me - recurrently change all your passwords from all accounts.

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

Scammers behind sextortion scams (or other email scams) send the same letter to thousands of recipients. Usually, they do not target anyone in particular and use email addresses obtained from leaked databases.

Has my computer been actually hacked and does the sender have any information?

No, your computer has not been hacked, compromised, or infected. When scammers are claiming that they have hacked (or infected a computer), they are just attempting to scare victims into making a payment or performing other actions.

How did cyber criminals get my email password?

If an email contains a password, scammers have likely obtained it after a data breach. Also, scammers might have obtained a password from a phishing website where it was disclosed by other cybercriminals.

I have sent cryptocurrency to the address presented in such email, can I get my money back?

It is very unlikely. In most cases, crypto transactions are virtually untraceable, meaning that people who have been scammed cannot retrieve transferred cryptocurrency.

Is it possible to infect a computer by opening an email?

No, opening an email by itself is completely harmless. Recipients infect computers by clicking links or opening attached files.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware infections. In order to remove high-end malware from infected computers, it is necessary to run a full system scan.

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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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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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