Hector Hernandez is a seemingly average seventeen-year-old kid in Detroit. Earlier this week, he stole and pawned his family’s jewels so he could wire money to internet blackmailers in the Philippines. He did this because they had threatened to publicize webcam video they had managed to get of him by hacking his webcam.
According to reports, this scam is becoming increasingly common. Hackers trick someone into installing a remote access application, switch on their webcam when they’re doing something "indiscreet," then Facebook message them a copy of the video, and threaten to show it to their parents/significant other/boss/whomever the person in the video would least like to see it. In short, it’s a crime of that type of psychopathic genius I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
In the case of Hector Hernandez, the scheme paid off to the tune of $1,700 in three installments, money he was able to get his hands on by pawning $100,000 worth of jewelry he stole from his family (which doesn't seem like a very good deal.) The scammers probably used a trojan horse to install the remote access tool or “RAT virus”, as they’re calling it on TV news, on Hector's computer.
The Facebook messages they sent threatened to show the video to his Facebook friends, and “on his school’s website,” because apparently where these scammers come from, high schoolers give a shit what’s on their school’s website.
When they hit Hector up a fourth time, he’d had enough. He came clean to his parents and the scammers’ cash cow died. His mother says she’s “So angry. I'm disappointed with him,” but she hasn’t disowned him just because there’s a video of him (probably, but lets face it, definitely) jerking off to internet porn. "I didn't want to tell my parents so I took their jewelry," Hector told Fox Detroit. "I didn't want my parents finding out what I did and I feel terrible about it."
These scams are starting to become common. The other day, I took my computer in to have it repaired and the Genius Bar guy said “If you don’t mind my asking, why do you have TeamViewer installed on your computer?” TeamViewer is a remote access application, and I use it to communicate with my PC for when I need to run a PC-only application from anywhere when I’m using my mac. It’s not a virus. It’s brilliant, and free for personal use.