Police in South Yorkshire have issued a warning to the public following reports of scam emails in the region.
The National Crime Agency are aware of numerous reports of scam emails circulating nationwide – where individuals are threatened with violence unless they pay money into a Bitcoin account.
Another scam email has been reported which states that certain footage will be shared unless the recipient pays an amount of Bitcoin is paid.
Detective Inspector Iain Rawlins said: “We’ve received several reports in South Yorkshire of people receiving these emails, which fall into two categories.
“The first scam email purports to be from a ‘hitman’ who claims he will cause violence to the email reader, unless a quantity of Bitcoin is paid.
“The second scam email claims that malware has been installed on the email recipient’s computer and the person sending the email then claims to have access to webcam footage of the recipient viewing child pornography. A demand for money is made via Bitcoin, otherwise there is a threat that the footage will be released.
“Neither of these emails appear to be targeted towards any particular individuals, though we appreciate that receipt of any email like this will be distressing and concerning.
"National agencies are now working with forces across the UK to understand where the emails are originating and this work is ongoing.”
If you receive an email like those described above, the guidance is to delete it immediately, as the emails are sent at random, the sender won’t know if they have reached a live email address or number unless you respond
You should not respond to the email, if you do, the scammers may escalate their intimidation.
The public are also warned never to send money or give credit card details, online account details or personal information to anyone they don’t know or trust, whether it be over the phone or via email.
Anyone that has transferred any money, or has provided account details to a scammer, should contact their bank and South Yorkshire police immediately on 101.
You can also read about the scam on the Action Fraud UK website here