Hi guys,

This scam was sent to me today by one of our Incognito community, and it’s particularly nasty and disgusting.

In the scam, the scammers sent the person an email with an attachment that looked as though it was from the French government/Europol. In it, the scammers accuse the target of viewing inappropriate and illegal images on the internet. This official-looking document is designed to strike fear into anyone, as such accusations can cause lifelong problems even if untrue.

The person who contacted me was worried because they share Wi-Fi with many people as part of their business. They thought someone using their Wi-Fi might have accessed illegal content, making them a potential suspect. The document claims the person will be prosecuted and leaves an option to respond. Once you respond, the scammers will tell you to pay a fine to avoid prosecution. The person was almost tricked into paying because of the shared Wi-Fi situation.

These scammers send millions of emails like this daily, hoping to trick a small percentage of people. Even a 1% success rate can yield them millions in extortion money.

Here’s how to identify and protect yourself from this scam:

  1. Official Communication: Real prosecution notices will not come via email. They will arrive as registered letters.
  2. Check the Sender: Look at the email’s “From” field. It might seem official, but if you click on the address, you can see the true source. In this case, the email came from a hijacked university address.
  3. Scaremongering Tactics: These scammers use fear to elicit a response. Remember, even the accusation alone can be damaging.

If you receive such an email:

  • Do Not Panic: Understand that this is a scam designed to scare you.
  • Do Not Engage: Delete the email after forwarding it to me so I can update our scam database.
  • Report the Scam: Use our Incognito app to report the scam and stay updated on new threats. The iOS version is coming soon!

Always send any suspicious emails to me through the app, and I’ll confirm their legitimacy for you. But, relax, you are not in trouble.

I send you all the best,
Stephen McCormack