Scammers are targeting Brazilian users and urging them to purchase prepaid debit cards.
With sextortion scams, scammers usually demand a ransom in cryptocurrency, as they are hard to trace and are anonymous. However, as of lately Kaskpersky has observed a growing trend whereby scammers are demanding a different sort of ransom.
New sextortion campaigns are targeting Brazilian users and urging them to visit a store such as Walmart, Lojas Americanas, Extra, Pão de Açucar, or Casas Bahia, and purchase some prepaid debit cards.
The victim needs to top up a certain amount, photograph both sides of the card, and then send the pictures to the scammer’s email address.
“The debit cards in this particular sextortion scheme — Acesso cards — are sold in Brazil and work with the Mastercard system. One of the features of these cards is that they are usable not only in Brazil, but internationally as well. Perhaps that’s the feature that the cybercriminals in question are particularly interested in,” explained Kaspersky.
This method of requesting prepaid debit cards as ransom will allow scammers to remain anonymous. With Bitcoins, users can be traced to their IP addresses. In addition, Bitcoin transactions can compromise the address and identity of the threat actors behind the scam.
However, with prepaid cards, they are bought already with identification, and no verification is needed during the reception or the use of codes. If someone were to be tracked down after using a particular card code, the person could claim they randomly got sent the code via email.
The scammers are using a set of email templates written in Portuguese, which looks like the output from an online translator. Subsequently, it can be assumed that scammers are not local
“It is still too early to say if prepaid debit cards will supplant bitcoin as the new ransom currency of choice, or whether such messages are the exception rather than the rule. In any event, it is worth remembering that such e-mails are not the work of genius hackers, but a social engineering shot in the dark.”
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