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Avoid getting scammed by fake "You Are One Of A Kind" emails

Also Known As: "You Are One Of A Kind" sextortion scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "You Are One Of A Kind"?

After reading the "You Are One Of A Kind" email, we determined that it is spam. Upon inspection, we determined that this letter is promoting a sextortion scam. The email falsely claims that the sender infected the recipient's devices, obtained vulnerable data, and recorded a sexually explicit video.

The recipient is threatened with the footage being sent to their contacts if they do not pay the sender. It must be emphasized that all the information in this mail is false – hence, it poses no threat to recipients.

You Are One Of A Kind email spam campaign

"You Are One Of A Kind" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "I own very sensitive information about your web activities" (may vary) is allegedly sent by a "professional hacker". The sender claims to have infected the recipient's devices with malware through compromised adult-oriented websites.

The nonexistent malicious software was used to steal sensitive data, such as messengers and social media accounts. The recipient was also monitored for months, and when they accessed sites hosting pornographic content – the malware was used to record the screen and the user via the webcam.

The sender gives 48 hours to pay 1280 USD in Bitcoin cryptocurrency. If the recipient fails to comply, the split-screen video depicting them and what they were viewing at the time will be sent to their contact lists. Additionally, the vulnerable data obtained from their devices (e.g., emails, chat histories, etc.) can get leaked.

If the recipient discloses that they have received this message to third-parties, in retribution – the sender will make good on their threats.

As mentioned in the introduction, all the claims made by this letter are false. This means that the sender has not infected any of the recipient's devices, no information was acquired, and no sexually explicit footage was recorded.

Victims of scam emails like "You Are One Of A Kind" will irretrievably lose the money they transfer to scammers. Cryptocurrency transactions are practically untraceable – therefore, they cannot be reversed.

Threat Summary:
Name "You Are One Of A Kind" sextortion scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient's devices were infected and used to record a compromising video, which will be sent to their contacts unless they pay a ransom.
Cyber Criminals' Cryptowallet Addresses 16UqxYLX49MkFkgqsj1NcKiNVQMRCL8pnp, 1FMu71jtWw89URpwk7LCR3iJUrgfJKoAhL, 16VeexDh6nu16h6noGPScmmf4qDdhHTShy
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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Phishing spam campaign examples

We have investigated countless spam campaigns; "Your System Has Been Cracked", "Internet Is A Dangerous Place", "You Have Been Under Surveillance", and "News That's Not Very Cheerful" are just some examples of sextortion emails.

Various scams are facilitated via spam mail, and it is used in malware distribution. While the commonly held belief that these emails are poorly put together and full of spelling/grammatical mistakes is not untrue, it is not always the case.

Spam letters can be competently crafted and believably disguised as messages from genuine companies, organizations, service providers, authorities, and other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Malware is often proliferated via spam campaigns. The email/messages can include virulent files as attachments or download links. These files come in various formats, e.g., archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

Merely opening a malicious file can be enough to trigger the malware download/installation chain. Some formats require additional user interaction to jumpstart these processes. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click on embedded links or files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is important to always approach incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages with caution. We advise against opening attachments or links present in suspicious/irrelevant mail, as they can be harmful or infectious.

However, malware is not spread only via spam mail. Therefore, we recommend vigilance while browsing, as fake and malicious online content usually appears legitimate and innocuous.

Furthermore, all downloads must be made from official and verified channels. Another recommendation is to activate and update programs using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updates can contain malware.

We must emphasize that having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated is essential to device/user safety. This software must be used to perform regular systems scans and to remove threats and issues. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "You Are One Of A Kind" spam email letter:

Subject: I own very sensitive information about your web activities


Greetings!

First of all, let me tell you, you are one of a kind!
It is hard to impress me because I have seen a lot in my career as a professional hacker but now I am really impressed.


I will get straight to the point. Listen to me carefully.


Several months ago,
I was able to hack your operating system and gain full access to all your devices and accounts including messengers, social media profiles, etc.


I hope, now you begin to get my message.
It goes without saying that I gained access to what you type via keylogger, your internet activity and webcam streaming.
All of this was possible due to your frequent visits to adult websites infected with harmful malware.
In other words, you were under my microscope for many days like some kind of a little bug.
The only difference is that unlike you there is no bug in the world who like to watch pervert porn.

 

Yes, you understand it right: I was able to see everything on your screen and record video and audio streams of your camera and microphone.
All of these records are currently securely saved on my storage as well as a backup copy.


In addition, I also gained access to your confidential information contained in your emails and chat messages.


Probably you are wondering why your antivirus and spyware defender software allowed me to do all of this?
I am sorry but it's a very stupid question. All antivirus programs turned into useless shit quite a long time ago.
Have you ever heard last years about any "advanced" new technologies in this industry?
Exactly. Nowadays, developers do not give a flying f**k about your security. Therefore, hackers like me took advantage of it.

 

The more you know my friend, no need to thank me.
Maybe with this fresh knowledge, you will be more serious about your internet security and never take it for granted anymore.


With that out of the way, let's cut to the chase. Using your recordings I made a video compilation,
which shows on the left side the controversial porn scenes of you happily masturbating to,
while on the right side it demonstrates the video you were watching at that moment.. ^.^


There are only 48 hours left since the moment you receive this email until I send this video to all your email and messenger contacts.
But there is more, guess what? I can also make public all your emails and chat history.

 

You are sick f**k in love with freaky adult content but you are not mentally re****ed so I would like to believe, you do not want to let this happen.
Right? Only the most stupid man in the world would be happy if his friends, loved ones and colleagues suddenly knew about something like this.


In other words, there is no way back. It cannot be fixed. However, there is a way forward that both of us can benefit from.
I am a reasonable guy and have no intention to ruin your life for nothing. I'd better like to gain something instead.


Here is your salvation - transfer the Bitcoin equivalent of 1280 USD to my Bitcoin account
(you can google the process in case you don't know how to do that).

 

Here is my Bitcoin address: 16UqxYLX49MkFkgqsj1NcKiNVQMRCL8pnp


Once I am notified of receiving it, I will delete all those videos and disappear from your life for good.
As I mentioned, you have only 48 hours to make a transaction after you open this email.


Believe me, I am always one step ahead so no way in hell you could fool me.
If I discover that you shared this message with others, I will send and publish your videos in no time.


P.S. It's in your power to make it nice for both of us.

Appearance the "You Are One Of A Kind" spam email (GIF):

You Are One Of A Kind scam email (GIF)

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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?

Spam emails are not personal, even if they include information relevant to the recipients. This mail is sent out in large-scale operations – hence, thousands of users receive identical (or incredibly similar) emails.

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

No, all the claims made by sextortion scam emails are false. Therefore, neither were your devices infected, nor does the sender possess sensitive/compromising information (i.e., the scammers do not have any videos, contact lists, messenger histories, etc.).

How did cyber criminals get my email password?

To make their scam seem more legitimate, scammers often use stolen email accounts to send scam messages to the account owners. They usually take over the accounts by obtaining the log-in credentials via phishing scams (e.g., fake sign-in pages, registration forms, etc.). While possible, it is less likely that the email password was acquired through a breach on your end. Even more unlikely is that this information was obtained via a breach on a service provider's end.

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

These transactions are irreversible because of their nearly untraceable nature. Therefore, victims of scam emails like "You Are One Of A Kind" cannot retrieve their funds.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by a spam email, what should I do?

If you have provided your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay. However, if the disclosed information was of a different personal nature (e.g., passport scans/photos, ID card details, credit/debit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact relevant authorities.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked; merely reading an email poses no infection threat.

I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?

If the opened file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – your device was compromised since these files cause infections almost without fail. However, you might have avoided this if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, .etc.). These formats may need additional actions to initiate system infection processes (e.g., enabling macros, clicking embedded content, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to scan devices and eliminate all manner of threats. It can detect and remove most of the known malware infections. Keep in mind that performing a complete system scan is essential since sophisticated malicious programs usually hide deep within systems.

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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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