Skip to main content

Extortion Scam

Scammers use coercion to unlawfully try to obtain money or services from you.

How it works

There are different variations, but they all involve threats. In some cases, the victim receives an email suggesting they have been recorded through their webcam while they watched adult websites. The scam artist demands a ransom to be paid in Bitcoin within a certain time period, with the threat to circulate the recording to the victim’s social media and email contacts if payment is not received. In recent cases, the scam artist refers to a real password the victim may have used in the past, which gives it the appearance of legitimacy. Another variant targets people in the Asian community, who receive calls claiming to be the Beijing Police, Interpol or the Chinese Consulate. The message claims a letter or package was intercepted that implicates the victim in a fraud. It directs them to a fake police website to verify their identity and provide a copy of their passport. These calls can be intimidating and threatening.

How to protect yourself

  • If you get an urgent call from someone stating they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up. Call the phone number on your account statement or on the company or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request.
  • If you get an extortion scam email, don’t reply to it and don’t click any links in the email. If the password is one you are still using, then change it immediately.
  • Never give out personal information in response to unexpected calls, text messages or emails. This includes account numbers, social insurance number (SIN), mother's maiden name, passport information, passwords or any information about your identity.

How to report it

If you suspect you’re a victim of an extortion scam, or attempted extortion scam,  contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and your local police or RCMP.  

FCNB is responsible for the administration, education and enforcement of provincial legislation that regulates securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions and certain consumer services. If your complaint relates to an area outside of FCNB’s regulated areas, we may refer you to the appropriate reporting agency or organization.