An Email Extortion Attempt

I went to the Harrisburg Senators doubleheader yesterday — the Senators dropped both games, and there were fireworks after due to Memorial Day — and when I got home about eleven o’clock I had an… interesting email.

I’ll share it with you now.

Return-path: <>
Delivery-date: Mon, 27 May 2019 02:10:01 +0100
Received: from [REDACTED]
Received: by (Postfix, from userid 10000) id ADCFE1400C; Sun, 26 May 2019 21:09:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: I see you on Linkedin
X-PHP-Originating-Script: 10000:c.php
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8
Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 26 May 2019 21:09:21 -0400


I am really sorry to send you this email.
I made a search about you on internet, I managed to find your full name, your social media accounts, your friends’ list etc.

I found you on Linkedin and I saved your face photo from there.

Since I am one of the most talented digital graphics experts of the world, I easily used your images to perfectly photoshopped photos of you doing some nasty adult things.
I may create a website with your full name and expose you there with these edited photos. The address of that site may also be shared to all your friends.
Believe me, it may only take a few weeks to make that site come at number 1 position at Google when someone searches your name!

Why am I doing this?
Unfortunately I was sacked from my job, capitalism.. you know..
My wife is sick. She is fighting with cancer and that’s the only way for me to cover the treatment fees.

I am a good man, but I need to…

I want you to send me 1000 usd. I know a lot about your job from Linkedin. This amount will not change your life a lot but surely will help me save my wife. Besides that, with %25 of the money, I will make a donation for the cancer research foundation under your name. You will help others too!

Send the above amount on my BTC wallet (bitcoin):3AG9ivA3Qd5sJfUSG69aPCNCd9GRknSjrW

When you open that email, I will receive a notification and from that moment, you will have 24 hours to finalize the transfer. This way I will not do anything harmful to your reputation and I promise you will never hear back from me again.

If you don’t make the transfer, I will assume that you didn’t believe me or took me seriously. I will do my best to create that adult photo site of yourself! And the link will be shared with all your friends. I had warned you!

PS: I am a well experienced tech guy. No.. This email message is untraceable. Actually, even if you try to reply this one, I will never receive it as well.

Please be smart, help me.. help others..
And plesa do not post everything on social media. You never know who will collect the data.

Good Luck

So, let’s summarize. What we have here is a man named John who is threatening to make deepfake porn videos of me using my photo from LinkedIn then share them with everyone I know unless I pay him a thousand dollars. I’m amused by the way John says that he’s doing me a solid by trying to extort me for a grand.

Go right ahead, Knock yourself out. This is my LinkedIn profile picture. If you can make something from this, I’ll be impressed.

In short, I didn’t (and don’t) take any of this seriously. Nor should anyone. Yes, it looks terrifying, and it plays off of fears of losing one’s reputation. But there’s nothing here to get worked up about. The message is free of anything with any legitimate personal details; even the “I’ve cracked your password” sextortion emails have a legitimate ten or fifteen year-old password. The spammer’s hope is that out of ten or twenty thousand of these sent, at basically no cost to him except the cost of the email list bought on the Dark Web, one credulous person will bite.

Stay vigilant, my friends!

Header photo “Lenovo Keyboard” by Andrew Skudder, licensed Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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