December 19, 2018 by phicks2012
On November 27th I was glancing through the massive amounts of nuisance email in my Junk Mail folder — just because (occasionally) legitimate emails get misdirected there — and spotted one that I thought possibly needed further attention prior to deleting. This was mainly because the subject line was basically a threat, and also because it “appeared” that I had sent it to myself. Since I rarely threaten myself, this was both highly unlikely and thought-provoking. 😉
It turned out to be an extortion letter demanding $743 in bitcoin to prevent the release (to my theoretically horrified friends and family) of information supposedly gleaned off of my supposedly hacked computer regarding the sleazy porn sites I supposedly was frequenting on-line and the kinky “joys” in which I supposedly had been indulging in front of my supposedly hacked video camera. I was, the writer informed me, a dirty pervert, and this would be known unless I paid up within 50 hours. Of course, there was a lot more regarding malware, remote servers, unstoppable viruses, and the futility of trying to resist, but I’m sure you get the point, right?
It took me a while to stop laughing hysterically.
In the first place, hacking my router and installing a Trojan very probably would require the hacker to physically press himself up against the side of my house, because the signal doesn’t even reach my bedroom. In the second place, I’ve never in my life visited a porn site, and unless you count a few photos of hot male models in kilts, there is nothing on my system that would qualify as anything other than very nice eye candy. In the third place, I have never done anything even remotely kinky near a computer with a camera. Jeez! They didn’t even HAVE computer cameras back then 😉 — but I digress.
My best guess was that this bozo had simply spoofed my email address — why not when to all appearances I’d also recently been trying to sell myself Viagra and hook myself up with hot Asian and Russian beauties? — and had done the same with numerous other people hoping to hit at random on a vulnerable target. However, I ran a few virus scans (nada), called my domain server, forwarded the email to their fraud unit (and on their instructions to the F.B.I.), changed my password, and then gleefully shared the experience with my friends via Facebook.
The responses were numerous and hilarious, and I hadn’t laughed so much or so hard in weeks! One friend had gotten a similar demand, and he wasn’t the only one who’d recently received this sort of blackmail demand via email. So had my brother, so I’d guess “someone” needed money for Christmas shopping. They’d asked my friend for $7000 — and when he’d ignored that the amount had gone down to $5000, $3000, and then $1000, which he was still blissfully ignoring. Probably the price reduction had something to do with Black Friday. 😉 My brother also said I’d been offered a bargain rate, by the way.
It additionally helped that on the same day I’d used a silly on-line app which informed me that the “profession I was born for” was “Underwear Model”, so that only further added to the hilarity. I had a friend claiming credit for the blackmail demands (he said he came up with $743 using a random number generator), and another instructing me to meet him with the money behind an abandoned Best Buy near the mall (come alone). I had friends theorizing that the perp was a fan of my underwear modeling — and others sending me beefcake photos of men in kilts. I had a friend suggest I inform the writer he owed me royalties for the nonexistent videos he was threatening to disseminate, and to tell him that my friend the Nigerian Finance Minister was presently draining all of his bank accounts. 😉
Who knew that being threatened could generate so much free entertainment? I’d never have guessed, but I was thoroughly enjoying responding to the messages with smart-assed comments of my own, and speculating on how much bitcoin to demand from the extortionist for pirating those mythical videos.
At an on-line meeting (Heraldic Commentary) that night everyone had a field day commenting on both my blackmailer and on my career as an underwear model, and (among other things) I eventually promised (once I stopped laughing) to put in a good word for a friend (who is currently between jobs) with my supposed employers, the lingerie moguls. I also messaged back that I’d meet the guy behind the Best Buy. I’d be the one wearing the body cam and carrying a Men in Kilts Calendar. I forgot to mention that I’d also be wearing a designer boostier.;-)
Oh, and, by the way, a single bitcoin at the time was worth over $4000, so I’m still trying to figure out how I’d have paid $743 in bitcoin. Suggestions? Are there millibitcoins? Just checking.
But there you have it. It only takes a day to create a new career (Underwear Model), a new hobby (Beefcake Collecting), a new source of income (Demanding Payment from Extortionists), and a new source of high quality entertainment. 😉