You get a message from someone who says they made a compromising video of you doing something indelicate.

Do you pay the blackmailer?

See this and more — Facebook, video game scams & “Big Brother” — in our scam alert.

Watch here:



Fake Peepers

Watch out for a fresh round of blackmail going out to inboxes like yours.

A security consultant says the blackmailers tell you they put malware on your computer — and caught you looking at porn and, ahem, touching yourself.

“I made this virus to record a mike, a cam, as well as the graphic on the screen, and you know I have created numerous interesting movies,” says one e-mail provided by consultant Xavier Mertens.

Pay up — $350 for this one — or the videos of you in the act go out to people you love.

“After obtaining the funds,” the e-mail claims, “we will both just forget about this unpleasant moment and erase all the info I have gathered from your devices.”

Mertens says these blackmailers are fake, just pretending they peeped on your machine and recorded videos.

He says don’t pay, and adds that if this arrives on your work computer, contact your helpdesk. If you get it at home, you can report it and delete it.

One option — report it to the Federal Trade Commission at


Fake blackmail message. Image credit: Xavier Mertens


Fake ID Protection

If you’ve used the travel site Orbitz, watch out for scam e-mails offering fake ID theft protection.

Orbitz says someone may have stolen customer info — almost 900,000 credit and debit card numbers — plus full name, date of birth, phone number and address, enough to pull off ID theft.

You may be at risk if you used the site in 2016 or 2017.

Orbitz warns people to watch out for fake e-mails and calls telling you you’re a victim and should sign up for identity theft protection.

The company says it is indeed offering free identity theft protection, but says you should go directly to its special webpage,, to get help.

“Review your payment card statements carefully and call your bank if you see any suspicious transactions,” the company adds.


Orbitz says its current website is not affected by this breach. Image credit: Orbitz


Check Your Facebook

You may be letting strangers or scammers scoop up some powerful info on Facebook.

The scandal involving Cambridge Analytica shows that millions of people are letting info slip out of their Facebook accounts, perhaps unnoticed. 

If you check your account under Settings, then Apps, then a section called Apps Others Use, you’ll see what other people can take from you — like your birthday, your religious and political views, your interests and more.


Information other people using apps may be able to take from your Facebook account if you do not restrict permissions. Image credit: Facebook


You may say, well, that’s no big deal.

But a whistleblower says Cambridge Analytica slurped up that data for 50 million people and used it for psychological advertising attacks, targeting people with political ads designed to get inside their heads and change their votes.

To change your permissions for Apps Others Use, go to Settings:



Then Apps:



Then Apps Others Use:



And click “edit.”

You will see a list of permissions for you to check or uncheck:



You’ll find more information about checking and changing your Facebook privacy settings here at ZDNet and here at Sophos.

“…(N)o matter how interesting or amusing a Facebook quiz looks, if it requires you to let it access your Facebook account, don’t take it,” ZDNet advises. “The only purpose of these quizzes is to gather your information.”

Fornite scams

The survival game Fortnite is ragingly popular — and scammers are moving in.

Players are reporting that someone has hacked their accounts and racked up charges.

The game maker, Epic Games, says don’t use the same password on Fortnite as you do on other accounts, as it makes it too easy for bad guys to use data breach info to take over your Fortnite account.

“Though it’s common to use the same password across multiple Internet sites, this is a dangerous practice and should be avoided,” says Epic Games’ security bulletin. “If one of those sites is compromised, hackers can use your email and password from that site to break into your account on other sites using the same password.” 

Watch out also for sites offering up free V-Bucks, the “premium currency” of the game.

Some sites claim you just need to take a survey to get the V-Bucks.


A site offering free V-Bucks if you take a survey. Image credit:


But Epic Games says these sites are fakes, often trying to steal your username and password or trick you into clicking on a bunch of ad pages.

If you’ve tried one of these free V-Bucks sites in the past, you should change your password as soon as possible, the company recommended.

Black Mirror in Real Life

Some people were chilled by a memorable episode of Black Mirror, where people rate each other at every turn and get social scores.

One character can’t get on a plane because her score is too low.

Now, that’s becoming a reality in China.


A character in the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” can’t get on a plane because her social score is too low. Image credit: Netflix’s Black Mirror


The Chinese government wants to give people social credit scores. 

Starting May first, anyone with a low social credit score won’t be allowed to use planes and trains for a year, Reuters reported.

You can lose social credit points for using an expired ticket on public transport, failing to pay a fine, causing trouble on a flight or spreading false information about terrorism.

Reuters says this fits in with China’s president’s plan to make a social credit system grounded in the idea of “once untrustworthy, always restricted.”


See other alerts:

Scam Alert #10 — Stealing bones & hacking robots

Scam Alert #9 — Secret text messages & peeping on kids

Scam Alert #8 — Baby cams & fake news

See more Scam Alerts here at Archer News.