“I’ve Sent This Message From Your Microsoft Account” Scam Explained

A chilling email appears in your inbox, sent seemingly from your own account. It claims you’ve been hacked, with compromising videos captured and set to be broadcast instantly. Unless you pay $1,220 in bitcoin within 48 hours.

Heart racing, panic sets in. But don’t let fear win. This “I’ve Sent This Message From Your Microsoft Account” scam is sweeping the nation, preying on innocent victims. Equip yourself with knowledge and the power shifts entirely into your hands.

This comprehensive guide will uncover exactly how this extortion scam works, arming you with tips to protect yourself and fight back. Read on to demystify the threats and learn why your best move is simply hitting delete.

Microsoft Scam

Overview of the “I’ve Sent This Message From Your Microsoft Account” Scam

The “I’ve Sent This Message From Your Microsoft Account” scam typically starts with an alarming email landing in your inbox, sent apparently from your own Microsoft Account.

The message claims the sender has installed powerful spyware called Pegasus on all your devices – laptop, phone, and tablet. This malware allegedly allows them to monitor your activity through the camera, record messages, log emails, and more.

Supposedly, they’ve been recording you for months through this surveillance. The email states they’ve captured deeply concerning and compromising videos of you watching pornography or engaging in other private activities.

Threatening to immediately send these embarrassing videos to all your contacts on WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype and via email, the sender demands a payment of $1,220 in bitcoin within 48 hours to avoid this.

The message is signed off with a warning not to contact authorities or the videos will be published right away. Instead, urgent payment is demanded to quickly delete the files and remove all traces of the malware.

This understandably causes panic in most recipients. The idea that a stranger has potentially embarrassing or damaging videos capable of ruining your reputation is terrifying.

Visions of the footage being sent to your family, friends, professional contacts and coworkers creates immense stress. Out of fear, some victims pay the ransom right away, which only further encourages these criminal schemes.

However, it’s critical to take a step back and realize this is ultimately a hollow extortion threat designed solely to squeeze money out of victims. Here are key facts to know about this scam email:

  • The sender is spoofed – Although cleverly disguised, the email is not really from your Microsoft Account. Scammers use spoofing tools to fake the “From” address.
  • No spyware installed – Claims of Pegasus malware being installed are bogus. In reality, this expensive software is usually reserved for high-profile targets.
  • No videos exist – Odds are close to zero that real compromising videos were recorded. Scammers are bluffing.
  • Mass targeting – This scam email is sprayed out en masse to thousands of addresses at once. Most recipients get an identical message.
  • Untraceable payment – Demands for payment via bitcoin allow scammers to remain anonymous and further scam targets.
  • Fear tactics used – Aggressive warnings are designed purely to incite fear so you pay without thinking clearly.

This is essentially a numbers game for scammers. Sending out mass emails costs them next to nothing. If even 1-2% of recipients pay the ransom out of fear, they profit handsomely.

For example, a scammer sending 50,000 emails and tricking just 500 people into paying $1,220 would pocket $610,000. Hence why this tactic remains appealing to unscrupulous fraudsters despite being illegal.

To maximize intimidation and social engineering, the email often reads something like this:

Hello pervert, I’ve sent this message from your Microsoft account.
I want to inform you about a very bad situation for you. However, you can benefit from it, if you will act wisely.
Have you heard of Pegasus? This is a spyware program that installs on computers and smartphones and allows hackers to monitor the activity of device owners. It provides access to your webcam, messengers, emails, call records, etc. It works well on Android, iOS, and Windows. I guess, you already figured out where I’m getting at.
It’s been a few months since I installed it on all your devices because you were not quite choosy about what links to click on the internet. During this period, I’ve learned about all aspects of your private life, but one is of special significance to me.
I’ve recorded many videos of you jerking off to highly controversial porn videos. Given that the “questionable” genre is almost always the same, I can conclude that you have sick perversion.
I doubt you’d want your friends, family and co-workers to know about it. However, I can do it in a few clicks.
Every number in your contact book will suddenly receive these videos – on WhatsApp, on Telegram, on Skype, on email – everywhere. It is going to be a tsunami that will sweep away everything in its path, and first of all, your former life.
Don’t think of yourself as an innocent victim. No one knows where your perversion might lead in the future, so consider this a kind of deserved punishment to stop you.
Better late than never.
I’m some kind of God who sees everything. However, don’t panic. As we know, God is merciful and forgiving, and so do I. But my mercy is not free.

Transfer $1220 USD to my bitcoin wallet: 1JVMTup4zuS1JMGXAYYRgvyr2PUmNnY6g2

Once I receive confirmation of the transaction, I will permanently delete all videos compromising you, uninstall Pegasus from all of your devices, and disappear from your life. You can be sure – my benefit is only money. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing to you, but destroy your life without a word in a second.

I’ll be notified when you open my email, and from that moment you have exactly 48 hours to send the money. If cryptocurrencies are unchartered waters for you, don’t worry, it’s very simple. Just google “crypto exchange” and then it will be no harder than buying some useless stuff on Amazon.

I strongly warn you against the following:
) Do not reply to this email. I sent it from a temp email so I am untraceable.
) Do not contact the police. I have access to all your devices, and as soon as I find out you ran to the cops, videos will be published.
) Don’t try to reset or destroy your devices.
As I mentioned above: I’m monitoring all your activity, so you either agree to my terms or the videos are published.

Also, don’t forget that cryptocurrencies are anonymous, so it’s impossible to identify me using the provided address.
Good luck, my perverted friend. I hope this is the last time we hear from each other.

And some friendly advice: from now on, don’t be so careless about your online security.”

Of course, this email is completely fabricated and the threats within are fake. Scammers are masters of malicious psychological manipulation, preying on victims’ fears. However, shining a light on their tactics is key to overcoming the anxiety they deliberately sow.

Now that we’ve seen an example of what this deceptive message looks like, next we’ll go step-by-step to uncover exactly how these fraudsters execute this insidious extortion scam.

How the “I’ve Sent This Message From Your Microsoft Account” Scam Works

Let’s break down precisely how scammers execute this extortion scam step-by-step:

1. Obtain Email Address

Scammers first need a list of emails to target. Email addresses are often leaked in data breaches, harvested from websites via web scraping, purchased from shady brokers, or simply generated through dictionary attacks. A 2018 Data Breach Investigation Report found email addresses are compromised in 32% of breaches, making them abundantly available to scammers.

2. Spoof Emails

With email addresses in hand, scammers use email spoofing services to disguise their identity. By altering the email’s header information, they can masquerade the message as being sent from the recipient’s own Microsoft account.

Email spoofing convinces recipients the sender has hacked their Microsoft, setting the stage for extortion. In reality, scammers merely manipulated message routing to fake the sender address.

3. Send Malicious Emails En Masse

Now the scamming begins. Using botnets and spoofed addresses, scammers blast out huge volumes of threatening emails quickly and cheaply.

These emails include:

  • Fake claims of compromising video footage
  • Demands for an urgent bitcoin payment
  • Dire warnings against going to authorities

By automating this process, a single scammer can reach tens of thousands of victims rapidly.

4. Wait for Victims to Pay

Finally, scammers monitor the bitcoin wallet addresses referenced in their emails, waiting to see if any recipients take the bait and pay up.

Since each email costs virtually nothing to send, even a low response rate of 1-2% can be profitable. And if a recipient pays once, scammers may return posing as a different blackmailer, demanding additional payments.

What To Do If You Receive This Email Scam

If this menacing email appears in your inbox, stay calm. You hold the power, not the scammers. Follow these steps to protect yourself:

  • Do not pay – Wiring money only emboldens scammers to target more people. No actual risky videos of you exist.
  • Do not reply – Replying confirms your email is active. Instead, block the sender and delete the message.
  • Run security scans – Run scans to detect malware just in case. But odds are low your devices are compromised.
  • Change passwords – Changing important passwords never hurts. Use unique, complex passwords for each account.
  • Set up two-factor authentication – Enable two-factor authentication on sensitive accounts for extra security.
  • Warn contacts – Let loved ones know of this scam in case they are also targeted. Awareness stops scammers.
  • Report the email – Forward the scam email to your email provider’s abuse team (e.g. Microsoft or Google) to aid crackdowns. Also report to the FTC.

The most critical step is maintaining perspective. The threats are baseless, meant only to terrify you into fast payment. Resist fear and your power grows.

What To Do If You Already Paid The Scammers

Don’t panic if you were deceived into already paying the ransom. Many kind-hearted people fall for these tactics out of embarrassment. You have options:

  • Contact the FBI – File an FBI complaint online about the blackmail at https://www.ic3.gov. They prosecute cyber extortion scams.
  • Inform your bank – If you paid by debit/credit card or bank transfer, report the fraud to your bank immediately. They may be able to halt the transaction.
  • Keep records – Save all emails, messages, and payment confirmation numbers/details as evidence for authorities.
  • Block contacts – Prevent future harassment by blocking all associated email addresses and usernames. Delete unread messages.
  • Deactivate affected accounts – If scammers have email or banking account access, lock down accounts. Change all associated passwords and security question answers.
  • Care for yourself – Seek emotional support from loved ones, therapists, or support groups. You are the victim of a crime – do not feel ashamed.

Scammers bank on your silence. The more you report, the better chance law enforcement has to hold them accountable and prevent further harm.

Is Your Device Infected? Check for Malware

If your device is running slowly or acting suspicious, it may be infected with malware. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free is a great option for scanning your device and detecting potential malware or viruses. The free version can efficiently check for and remove many common infections.  

Malwarebytes can run on Windows, Mac, and Android devices. Depending on which operating system is installed on the device you’re trying to run a Malwarebytes scan, please click on the tab below and follow the displayed steps.

Malwarebytes For WindowsMalwarebytes For MacMalwarebytes For Android

Scan your computer with Malwarebytes for Windows to remove malware

Malwarebytes stands out as one of the leading and widely-used anti-malware solutions for Windows, and for good reason. It effectively eradicates various types of malware that other programs often overlook, all at no cost to you. When it comes to disinfecting an infected device, Malwarebytes has consistently been a free and indispensable tool in the battle against malware. We highly recommend it for maintaining a clean and secure system.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Windows

    You can download Malwarebytes by clicking the link below.

    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes)

    Install Malwarebytes

    After the download is complete, locate the MBSetup file, typically found in your Downloads folder. Double-click on the MBSetup file to begin the installation of Malwarebytes on your computer. If a User Account Control pop-up appears, click “Yes” to continue the Malwarebytes installation.

  3. Follow the On-Screen Prompts to Install Malwarebytes

    When the Malwarebytes installation begins, the setup wizard will guide you through the process.

    • You’ll first be prompted to choose the type of computer you’re installing the program on—select either “Personal Computer” or “Work Computer” as appropriate, then click on Next.

      MBAM3 1
    • Malwarebytes will now begin the installation process on your device.

    • When the Malwarebytes installation is complete, the program will automatically open to the “Welcome to Malwarebytes” screen.

      MBAM6 1
    • On the final screen, simply click on the Open Malwarebytes option to start the program.

      MBAM5 1
  4. Enable “Rootkit scanning”.

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now start, and you will see the main screen as shown below. To maximize Malwarebytes’ ability to detect malware and unwanted programs, we need to enable rootkit scanning. Click on the “Settings” gear icon located on the left of the screen to access the general settings section.


    In the settings menu, enable the “Scan for rootkits” option by clicking the toggle switch until it turns blue.


    Now that you have enabled rootkit scanning, click on the “Dashboard” button in the left pane to get back to the main screen.

  5. Perform a Scan with Malwarebytes.

    To start a scan, click the Scan button. Malwarebytes will automatically update its antivirus database and begin scanning your computer for malicious programs.

  6. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will now scan your computer for browser hijackers and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check the status of the scan to see when it is finished.

  7. Quarantine detected malware

    Once the Malwarebytes scan is complete, it will display a list of detected malware, adware, and potentially unwanted programs. To effectively remove these threats, click the “Quarantine” button.


    Malwarebytes will now delete all of the files and registry keys and add them to the program’s quarantine.


  8. Restart your computer.

    When removing files, Malwarebytes may require a reboot to fully eliminate some threats. If you see a message indicating that a reboot is needed, please allow it. Once your computer has restarted and you are logged back in, you can continue with the remaining steps.


Your computer should now be free of trojans, adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.

If your current antivirus allowed this malicious program on your computer, you may want to consider purchasing Malwarebytes Premium to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps:

Scan your computer with Malwarebytes for Mac to remove malware

Malwarebytes for Mac is an on-demand scanner that can destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss without costing you absolutely anything. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free, and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Mac.

    You can download Malwarebytes for Mac by clicking the link below.

    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Mac)
  2. Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.

    When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the setup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Double-click on setup file to install Malwarebytes

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.

    When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes for Mac Installer which will guide you through the installation process. Click “Continue“, then keep following the prompts to continue with the installation process.

    Click Continue to install Malwarebytes for Mac

    Click again on Continue to install Malwarebytes for Mac for Mac

    Click Install to install Malwarebytes on Mac

    When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen. Click the “Get started” button.

  4. Select “Personal Computer” or “Work Computer”.

    The Malwarebytes Welcome screen will first ask you what type of computer are you installing this program, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
    Select Personal Computer or Work Computer mac

  5. Click on “Scan”.

    To scan your computer with Malwarebytes, click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes for Mac will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for malware.
    Click on Scan button to start a system scan Mac

  6. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will scan your computer for adware, browser hijackers, and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Wait for Malwarebytes for Mac to scan for malware

  7. Click on “Quarantine”.

    When the scan has been completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected. To remove the malware that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.
    Review the malicious programs and click on Quarantine to remove malware

  8. Restart computer.

    Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes For Mac requesting to restart computer

Your Mac should now be free of adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.

If your current antivirus allowed a malicious program on your computer, you might want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove a malicious program from your computer, please ask for help in our Mac Malware Removal Help & Support forum.

Scan your phone with Malwarebytes for Android to remove malware

Malwarebytes for Android automatically detects and removes dangerous threats like malware and ransomware so you don’t have to worry about your most-used device being compromised. Aggressive detection of adware and potentially unwanted programs keeps your Android phone or tablet running smooth.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Android.

    You can download Malwarebytes for Android by clicking the link below.

    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes for Android)
  2. Install Malwarebytes for Android on your phone.

    In the Google Play Store, tap “Install” to install Malwarebytes for Android on your device.

    Tap Install to install Malwarebytes for Android

    When the installation process has finished, tap “Open” to begin using Malwarebytes for Android. You can also open Malwarebytes by tapping on its icon in your phone menu or home screen.
    Malwarebytes for Android - Open App

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the setup process

    When Malwarebytes will open, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through a series of permissions and other setup options.
    This is the first of two screens that explain the difference between the Premium and Free versions. Swipe this screen to continue.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 1
    Tap on “Got it” to proceed to the next step.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 2
    Malwarebytes for Android will now ask for a set of permissions that are required to scan your device and protect it from malware. Tap on “Give permission” to continue.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 3
    Tap on “Allow” to permit Malwarebytes to access the files on your phone.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen 4

  4. Update database and run a scan with Malwarebytes for Android

    You will now be prompted to update the Malwarebytes database and run a full system scan.

    Malwarebytes fix issue

    Click on “Update database” to update the Malwarebytes for Android definitions to the latest version, then click on “Run full scan” to perform a system scan.

    Update database and run Malwarebytes scan on phone

  5. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will now start scanning your phone for adware and other malicious apps. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Malwarebytes scanning Android for Vmalware

  6. Click on “Remove Selected”.

    When the scan has been completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes for Android has detected. To remove the malicious apps that Malwarebytes has found, tap on the “Remove Selected” button.
    Remove malware from your phone

  7. Restart your phone.

    Malwarebytes for Android will now remove all the malicious apps that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your device.

Your phone should now be free of adware, browser hijackers, and other malware.

If your current antivirus allowed a malicious app on your phone, you may want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your phone after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps:

Frequently Asked Questions About the Microsoft Email Extortion Scam

1. How does the Microsoft email scam work?

The scammer spoofs an email to make it look like it’s from your own Microsoft account. The message claims malware was installed on your devices to record inappropriate videos of you, and demands a bitcoin payment to avoid releasing the footage. This is all a bluff designed to scare victims into paying. No real videos exist.

2. What is email spoofing?

Email spoofing is when a sender falsifies the email header to disguise the origin of the message. Scammers use spoofing to impersonate trusted senders like Microsoft, banks, or social media. Always check the actual email address rather than just the display name.

3. What is the Pegasus malware mentioned in the email?

Pegasus is powerful spyware developed by the NSO Group. It’s extremely expensive and typically used only to target high-profile victims. Odds are very low that Pegasus malware was actually installed on your devices.

4. How do scammers get your email address?

Scammers harvest email addresses from data breaches, public databases, social media, shady online marketplace, and other sources. They may also use dictionary attacks to generate random addresses.

5. Why do scammers ask for payment in bitcoin?

Bitcoin allows largely anonymous payments, making it very difficult to trace. Scammers prefer bitcoin over traditional payments to avoid being identified and caught.

6. Is it actually possible for scammers to record me through my webcam?

While hacking webcams is technically possible, it’s highly unlikely in this scam. These are mass-produced extortion attempts with no actual footage. The video claims are a bluff.

7. What happens if I pay the scammers?

Nothing good. Once they receive money, scammers will likely disappear and still have your email to target you again. Paying only enables further extortion attempts.

8. What should I do if I get the Microsoft email scam?

Do not reply or pay anything. Report the scam email to Apple, Google, Microsoft or your email provider. Block the sender, delete the message, and update account passwords as a precaution.

9. What if I already paid the scammers?

Contact your bank and local authorities immediately if you paid any amount. File an FBI complaint at www.ic3.gov. Gather all details and evidence about the transaction to aid investigation.

10. How can I protect myself from email scams?

Use unique passwords, enable two-factor authentication, check sender addresses, avoid clicking unknown links/attachments, keep software updated, and be wary of any requests for sensitive data or payments.

The Bottom Line

Being blackmailed with fake videos is a profoundly stressful and isolating experience. But knowledge of this scam’s mechanics exposes the hollowness of its threats. Simply deleting the message cuts off their power entirely.

If paid, contact authorities to prosecute the criminals. And above all, take care of yourself emotionally. Support groups like Victims of Internet Scams can help heal the shame these scammers exploit.

Use this experience as motivation to implement stringent online security going forward. But do not let fear overwhelm you – the scammers’ bark is much worse than their bite. With wisdom and diligence, we can eventually declaw these fraudsters for good.

How to Stay Safe Online

Here are 10 basic security tips to help you avoid malware and protect your device:

  1. Use a good antivirus and keep it up-to-date.

    Shield Guide

    It's essential to use a good quality antivirus and keep it up-to-date to stay ahead of the latest cyber threats. We are huge fans of Malwarebytes Premium and use it on all of our devices, including Windows and Mac computers as well as our mobile devices. Malwarebytes sits beside your traditional antivirus, filling in any gaps in its defenses, and providing extra protection against sneakier security threats.

  2. Keep software and operating systems up-to-date.


    Keep your operating system and apps up to date. Whenever an update is released for your device, download and install it right away. These updates often include security fixes, vulnerability patches, and other necessary maintenance.

  3. Be careful when installing programs and apps.

    install guide

    Pay close attention to installation screens and license agreements when installing software. Custom or advanced installation options will often disclose any third-party software that is also being installed. Take great care in every stage of the process and make sure you know what it is you're agreeing to before you click "Next."

  4. Install an ad blocker.

    Ad Blocker

    Use a browser-based content blocker, like AdGuard. Content blockers help stop malicious ads, Trojans, phishing, and other undesirable content that an antivirus product alone may not stop.

  5. Be careful what you download.

    Trojan Horse

    A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather.

  6. Be alert for people trying to trick you.

    warning sign

    Whether it's your email, phone, messenger, or other applications, always be alert and on guard for someone trying to trick you into clicking on links or replying to messages. Remember that it's easy to spoof phone numbers, so a familiar name or number doesn't make messages more trustworthy.

  7. Back up your data.

    backup sign

    Back up your data frequently and check that your backup data can be restored. You can do this manually on an external HDD/USB stick, or automatically using backup software. This is also the best way to counter ransomware. Never connect the backup drive to a computer if you suspect that the computer is infected with malware.

  8. Choose strong passwords.

    lock sign

    Use strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts. Avoid using personal information or easily guessable words in your passwords. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts whenever possible.

  9. Be careful where you click.

    cursor sign

    Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. These could potentially contain malware or phishing scams.

  10. Don't use pirated software.

    Shady Guide

    Avoid using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, keygens, cracks, and other pirated software that can often compromise your data, privacy, or both.

To avoid potential dangers on the internet, it's important to follow these 10 basic safety rules. By doing so, you can protect yourself from many of the unpleasant surprises that can arise when using the web.

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