Extortion

Scam medium:

  • Email and text
  • Internet
  • Phone and fax

Targeting:

  • Businesses
  • Individuals

Extortion happens when someone unlawfully obtains money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution through coercion.

Ongoing extortion scams include:

Bomb threat

A scammer sends an email to a person or business stating that they're an assassin and they've planted a bomb. They demand a large sum of money (possibly in Bitcoin) in return for not carrying out the mission.

Denial of Service (DOS)

Scammers send an email to a business threatening to attack or bring down the business's website and internet services. The email states it's from a hacker group. It requests payment via Bitcoin or other crypto currencies immediately.

Explicit video

Via email, a scammer claims to have hacked your computer and recorded you performing an explicit act (i.e., masturbation). They often cite a password you're currently using or previously used as proof of the hack. They state that they will release the video publicly if you do not pay a fee via Bitcoin.

The computer has not been hacked. The password cited was obtained in a previous data breach.

Hitman

These emails claim that someone betrayed you and hired the sender to kill you. The sender offers to cancel the contract and provide the name of the person who hired them, for a cost. The email requests the payment in Bitcoin and provides an address to send the payment to.

In some variations, the scammer claims to have links to terrorist organizations.

These emails attempt to create a sense of urgency and alarm to get you to send money.

Hostage

Scammers claim to be high-ranking government officials. We've received reports of scammers saying they were the Minister of National Defense, the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Public Safety.

The scammer asks for financial help from the business to pay a ransom. They may state that employees of the business are being held hostage. While the ransom demand is real, the actual hostage-taking is fake.

These scams are well constructed. They appear to come from Canadian government officials who are known to the recipient. The scammers target various industries, but often within the critical infrastructure industry.

Hydro

A scammer claims to be an employee of a local or provincial hydro company. They state that you or your business have an unpaid balance on your hydro bill. You must pay it immediately or the company will turn off your power.

The scammer may request payment via money service businesses, pre‐paid cards/gift cards (iTunes Google Play or Steam cards) or Bitcoin.

Immigration extortion

The scammer calls you at home and claims to be with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada). They tell you that you've failed to complete or register certain immigration documents. They insist you need to pay the fees immediately or risk:

Ransomware

Ransomware is a malicious software (malware) that:

If you have an infected computer, you'll see an on-screen alert stating your files are encrypted.

Sextortion

Scammers create fake profiles on social media and pornographic and dating websites. They use these profiles to lure you into a relationship and coerce you into performing sexual acts on camera.

The scammer records the session and threatens to send the image or video to other people unless you pay or provide more sexual content.

Taxpayer or Canada Revenue Agency

A scammer claims to be an employee of either the Canada Revenue Agency or Service Canada. They state that you:

They insist that if you do not pay immediately, you'll be arrested, fined or even deported.

The scammers may request payment via money service businesses, pre‐paid cards/gift cards (iTunes, Google Play or Steam cards) or Bitcoin.

Telephone calls targeting the Asian community

The Asian community in Canada is being targeted with automated calls claiming to have an urgent message from sources such as:

These calls can be very intimidating and threatening.

The scam calls vary, but generally they claim customs intercepted a letter or package in your name, and implicate you in the fraud. For example, the message may state that customs stopped a suspicious package containing many bank cards and you are the subject of an investigation.

Additional variations

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