Lynn Says

$2,200 blackmail attempt against Alva internet users


August 1, 2018

For the second time within a month, I've seen an extortion email trying to collect a sizeable sum of money. It’s from a fellow who says he has proof the victim was watching porn on his computer while doing “nasty things” to himself. He is willing to forget the matter for a payment of $2,200.

He said, “Yes, you'll try to take this matter to the cops. But if I am smart enough to figure out how to get your username and password,” which he then displays, “then you better figure out that I can avoid the cops.

“In fact, I'll let you move on with your daily life and not send the file of porn pictures to all your friends and close relatives in your contact list. You KNOW how easy it would be to do a carbon-copy mailing to everyone.”

The extortionist says payment can be made through Bitcoin. A previous person suggested buying WalMart gift cards in $500 increments and contacting the email blackmailer with the activation codes.

The Two Instances

The first extortion attempt came to Vicky via her email at the photo studio. I said, “Toss it, and I'll change your password.” I knew we did not have any video cameras pointed to Vicky's computer screen.

The second attempt came Monday, July 30, 2018, addressed to [email protected] Roger, a fine man and a wonderful sportswriter, left Alva and moved to Texas several years ago. His email account has been disabled for many years.

However, we have a feature where if somebody misspells a user email name, but still has spelled correctly, the program will “save the email” to a junk email folder. I'm sure that's what happened in this case.

I can disable the feature of permitting misspelled email addresses. It occasionally has been proven handy since the domain name of is way too long and leads to inaccurate spellings.

Anybody Can Be a Victim

Unfortunately, the less sophisticated the computer user, the more likely a spouse or other relative may assume their family member is “guilty.” Indeed, with the sophistication of pop-up internet screens, there's probably not a person on the web who has not seen a naked person. That becomes a family matter that needs to be worked out at that level.

You may get the dreaded blue screen of death or the black screen of death urging you to call an 800 number so that for a certain amount of money they can “save” your computer. This is typically called ransomware and where the user or business will be bankrupted to lose all their records.

I know of a business or two that have yielded to such requests.

The newspaper follows a practice of backing up the main C drive of each computer at the first of each month, then unplugging the back-up. One can purchase a one terabyte drive for about $90 and that's a lot cheaper than paying a cloud fee each month.

Good luck. The internet is a marvelous resource tool, just as the interstate highway system is a marvelous travel tool. It's very unlikely a person can work a lifetime around the interstate highway system or the computer internet system and that accidents won't happen.


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