Fraudulent email warning: Bitcoin sextortion

You may have recently been the recipient of a fraudulent email that claimed to have photos of you and requested money in the form of Bitcoins. These emails, also known as phishing emails, or this specific case sextortion scams, are very effective because the sender takes extra time to create a message specific to you in an effort to trick or confuse you into providing your personal information.

Some variations of this most recent attack contain a password from a previous third-party breach. Password dumps are usernames and old passwords that were gathered from past security exploits, such as those from Equifax, LinkedIn, and Uber - among many others.  The attackers use these credentials to format the email and add legitimacy to their claims, many times by spoofing emails to make them look like they came from the users own accounts. Your Wayne State account was not compromised.

If you received this message and it contained a current password for either your Wayne State account or any personal accounts, we recommend changing those passwords as soon as possible. Change your Wayne State password by calling the Help Desk at 313-577-4357. If you have sent money to one of these scammers, please file a complaint with the FBI.

Scam email asking for Bitcoin and claiming to have a previous password from a data breach.

Report fraudulent emails

Thanks to the reports from many of you, this attack was identified and stopped. We have blocked this sender from continuing to send fraudulent messages to us, as well as removed the emails from our system. Please continue to forward copies of any fraudulent emails you receive to so we can continue to identify and block these attacks quickly.

It is important to always be suspicious of emails that ask you for financial information, personal information, or ask you to click a link or open an attachment. If you ever feel like you have fallen victim to an email attack, please contact the C&IT Help Desk at 313-577-4357 as soon as possible.

For further information on protecting yourself against fraudulent emails, please visit To read more about these scams, visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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