4iQ Amps Up Its Marketing

May 28, 2020

It is all about volume. Though most of us delete the ubiquitous “sextortion” emails with little thought but a passing sense of distaste, enough victims fork over Bitcoin to make it a lucrative scam. 4iQ’s blog examines the tactic in, “Demystifying ‘Sextortion’ & Blackmail Scams.”

Lest you, dear reader, are so fortunate as to be unfamiliar with such emails, the post includes examples. Dripping scorn for those who would exploit fears and threaten people during a pandemic, writer ClairelfEye explains these deceivers purchase real email addresses and passwords stolen in one of the large-scale data breaches that have become all too common. They then leverage this information to convince marks they possess more, very personal, details. She writes:

“I reached out to my social networks to see if this is widespread, and sure enough, many people confirmed that they — or someone they know — have received these types of scams in the past five weeks. … While most people get annoyed, roll their eyes and delete these blackmail e-mails, this is a numbers game. There will be a few people that fall for these low-level scams. Out of the many sextortion scams forwarded to me by friends and family, one [Bitcoin] address received 0.270616 BTC, which equals $2,082.03 USD as of April 27, 2020.”

Regarding the data breaches that make this scam possible, ClairelfEye explains:

“Working at 4iQ, I am almost too aware of data breaches happening on a daily basis. We investigate, validate and report on breached data every day. In fact, I can probably accurately surmise that this scammer got my email and clear text password in the 1.4 billion clear text credentials trove our breach hunters found back in 2017. Same goes for many of the forwarded scam emails I received. Interesting to see this information run full circle.”

The author’s colleague Alberto Casares, she tells us, is aggregating, investigating, and reporting on these extortion attempts. To participate, receivers of such emails can send them to report.email.threats@gmail.com. Dubbing itself the “Adversary Intelligence Company,” 4iQ offers consumer protection products and curates and normalizes compromised identities to help combat fraud and other crimes. Founded in 2016, the company is based in Los Altos, California.

Another specialized services firm amps up its marketing. This quest for sales and venture funding may be a trend.

Cynthia Murrell, May 28, 2020


Got something to say?

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta