As long as human beings have existed, there has probably always been some type of dirty rotten scammer trying to mooch off the accomplishments of others, and the 2020 bitcoin scam is no exception.
What is the 2020 bitcoin scam?
Everyone and their mother has heard of or known someone personally that's managed to strike it rich with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. So it only makes sense that there'd be a multitude of different scams involving the "virtual money" being pushed to folks all over the web.
However, this popular 2020 one is getting a lot of people spooked, and for good reason: it involves webcams.
A popular photo of Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, showed the tech wunderkind posing in front of his Macbook laptop. People all over the web noticed that Mark kept a post-it note over his computer's integrated webcam.
It's a familiar sight, and prior to that photo of Zuck with the itty bitty piece of paper over his camera, most folks just assumed those who engaged in this particular practice were paranoid.
But with the advent of data sales from free-to-use software to ad agencies who create marketing that's becoming more and more personalized, it's certainly cause for worry. How many times have you talked about a particular subject or product, only to see something that directly pertains to your conversation show up on your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook feed?
While I was on the road filming Ghost Hunters, Brandon and I had a running joke about Uncle Fester.
I never texted about Fester, I never wrote about the bald member of the Addams Family in a text or did any Google searches about Fester. What do I see pop up in my IG feed the next day? Fester's Quest T-shirts, yeah the NES game built around the weird, immortal, bald, pale, unlikely hero.
What I'm trying to say is: we're probably always being watched/eavesdropped on.
But getting access to these "livestreams" on our cell phones microphones and computer's web cameras aren't easy.
Plus, when your webcam is activated on your laptop, a little light gets turned on to let you know that it's engaged, so no, it isn't recording you... probably.
In any event, even if you are being recorded while you mirthlessly stay on your laptop and decide to stream The Office for the zillionth time, double chin and all, there's no way hackers can get to your videos.
The latest bitcoin scam goes like this: folks receive an email from a dirty stinking liar saying that they've managed to get videos of them pleasuring themselves in front of their computer. They then threaten to release these videos to the rest of the web if you don't buy some bitcoin and transfer it into their account.
What really makes the scam seem legit is that these schemers will put a password you've used, usually past ones to make it seem like they honestly do have access to your account. Here's the deal though: they didn't "hack" you to get this password. They probably just searched a PasteBin document online to get it.
But if you're afraid you've been compromised, there are a few handy dandy resources you can check out online.
Have I Been Pwned works fairly well. All you need to do is put in the email address you believe may have been compromised. If you have been "pwned" then that's fine: change your password or use a generator to make a stronger one. Once you've done that, you can also set up dual-factor authentication on your device. Whenever someone tries logging in from a new browser or device, you'll get a ping on your phone and you'll need to authorize it.
If you want to stay on top of different Bitcoin scams, you can also check out Bitcoin Abuse, which will let you know what the latest methods the schemers and charlatans are employing to try and get your hard-earned smackaroos.
So if you get an email with this Bitcoin scam, don't fret!