Extortion / Sextortion Frauds
Extortion is when someone is forced or threatened in order for the perpetrator to receive money or property from the victim. The foundation of extortion is making threats, such as:
- Physical harm or violence
- Arrest or imprisonment
- Criminal charges
- Property damage
Another form of extortion is to offer “protection” from harm, theft, etc. in exchange for money. The victim’s family members and friends may also be threatened.
Blackmail is the most common type of extortion. Blackmail involves the perpetrator threatening to reveal embarrassing or scandalous information about the victim to family members or to members of the public with the goal of ruining the person’s image or reputation publicly if they fail to pay to keep the information private.
Sextortion is a form of extortion. It is a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute a Victim’s private and sensitive material (images, videos, screenshots, etc.) if they don’t provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money. The perpetrator may also threaten to harm their friends or family by using the information that they have obtained unless you agree to their demands.
Examples of Sextortion and Extortion Fraud Schemes
Sextortion Fraud 1
- Scammers create fake profiles on social media and dating websites. They use these profiles to lure victims into a relationship and coerce you into performing sexual acts on camera with the intent to record the session.
- The Victim initially engages in seemingly harmless encounters over social media or through dating sites.
- Eventually the perpetrator will coerce the victim into sending explicit images, getting naked on camera, or performing sexual acts while on camera.
- The Victim is told the images will be shared (online, with family members, etc.) unless they send money to the perpetrator (or in some cases unless they send more explicit content).
- In some cases the Victim is coerced into going into hiding under threat of the images being shared and the Victim’s family is contacted for “ransom”.
Sextortion Fraud 2
- A scammer contacts the Victim via email, claiming to have hacked their computer and having recorded them performing an explicit act (i.e., masturbation).
- They often cite some of the Victim’s personal information (e.g. Social Insurance Number) or a password you have used as proof of the hack (when in fact the computer has not been hacked. The password cited was obtained in a data breach).
- They state that they will release the video publicly if you do not pay a fee via Bitcoin.
- A scammer calls the Victim and claims to be with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada).
- They tell the Victim that they’ve failed to complete or register certain immigration documents.
- They insist you need to pay the fees immediately or risk:
- loss of passport
- loss of citizenship