Are you a target for cybercrime?

Carlos Franco
5 min readOct 27, 2022


>It’s Technical

By Carlos Franco—October 27, 2022.

@itstechnical_cf | Glasp: @ItsTechnical | Web: CarlosFranco.Bio

While doing my monthly email cleanup, I checked my spam folder and I came across an oddly polite blackmail email.

”Greetings! I have to share bad news with you. Approximately a few months ago, I gained access to your devices, which you use for internet browsing. After that, I have started tracking your internet activities.”

The email went on to say that they, a self-described “APT Hacker Group,” had downloaded all of the files from my accessed devices and curated a montage of pornographic material which they planned to distribute to my contacts and publicly unless I sent 6.4 Bitcoin to a crypto wallet address they provided in the email. Don’t worry, I didn’t do that (I’m not even sure I know how to do that). Instead, I reported it.

Why it matters

According to the FBI, cyber-criminal organizations and nation-states whose business it is to compromise US networks, steal financial and intellectual property, and jeopardize America’s critical infrastructure are becoming a growing threat (1). Another thing mentioned on the FBI’s page is that October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

What I did

After doing a quick search for the FBI’s cybercrime page, I found an option for filing a complaint.

  • From the homepage, you can select ‘Submit A Tip’ from the toolbar OR look to the middle of the page under the prompt ‘I Want To’ and select the ‘Submit A Tip’ icon.
  • After selecting ‘Submit A Tip’ you will be directed to a consent page with a few prompts about the purpose and permissions of the tip form.

FBI Page Screenshot (1)

  • Since the crime I was reporting was related to “internet-based fraud” and not “federal crimes” or “terrorist activity” I was redirected to
  • From the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) homepage I was greeted with a brightly contrasted banner directing me to the complaint submission portal.

IC3 Page Screenshot (2)

  • After submitting my complaint and including a copy of the email along contact information, I was presented with a copy of my complaint to download. There wasn’t a great interface or options for how to download the complaint, so I simply saved it as a complete HTML file.

IC3 Page Screenshot Two (2)

What happens next?

Perhaps I will be contacted by an agent in the near future if more information is needed. But in the meantime, I wanted to share the cybersecurity tips that the FBI thinks the American public should know.

Be Cyber Smart (1)

See if you recognize these common cyber red flags.

🚩: We need your help right now. Criminals will capitalize on current events. So be suspicious of social media posts or online solicitations from individuals claiming they were affected by a recent tragedy or disaster. Do not send payments to unknown individuals or entities without researching them to verify their legitimacy.

🚩 I wonder what this could be? Do not open any email attachment or click a link unless you’re expecting the file, document, or invoice and have verified the sender’s email address. Scammers often mimic a legitimate site or email address by using a slight variation in spelling.

🚩: This charging station is so convenient. Free charging stations in airports and shopping centers can infect your devices with malware and monitoring software. Find an outlet and use your own plug and charger instead.

Cyber Safety Tips (1)

Internet-enabled crimes and cyber intrusions are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and preventing them requires each user of a connected device to be aware and on guard.

  • Keep systems and software up to date and install a strong, reputable anti-virus program.
  • Be careful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network and do not conduct any sensitive transactions, including purchases, when on a public network.
  • Create a strong and unique passphrase for each online account and change those passphrases regularly.
  • Set up multi-factor authentication on all accounts that allow it.
  • Examine the email address in all correspondence and scrutinize website URLs before responding to a message or visiting a site
  • Don’t click on anything in unsolicited emails or text messages.
  • Be cautious about the information you share in online profiles and social media accounts. Sharing things like pet names, schools, and family members can give scammers the hints they need to guess your passwords or the answers to your account security questions.
  • Don’t send payments to unknown people or organizations that are seeking monetary support and urge immediate action.

Further Reading and Resources

  1. Learn how to protect your computer, network, and personal information (
  2. Ransomeware (
  3. Spoofing and phishing (

See a list of the key highlights from the sources consulted and cited in this article on Glasp using the following link ; or by searching for the tag: H1 Are You A Target? from the search bar on Glasp’s landing page.

References +2

  1. Accessed on October 27, 2022. ↩︎
  2. Accessed on October 27, 2022. ↩︎

Carlos is a technical and medical freelance writer who specializes in online education content. Copyright© 2022, 2023. All rights reserved.



Carlos Franco

Freelance technical writer with an advanced degree and 10+ years of experience in patient education.