FBI: Asian business owners targeted in nationwide extortion scheme


Business owners nationwide

, primarily of Asian descent, are being targeted by extortionists who threaten them by telephone after gleaning personal information about them from the Internet, the FBI said today.

A warning was issued today on IC3.gov, a site operated by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.

The FBI said the threats appear to be coming from foreign countries. The business owners are led to believe that the extortionist knows personal information about them.

The FBI is not aware of any resulting violence.

It was not immediately clear how many people have reported the threats or whether any money has been paid out. Officials with the Los Angeles-based Asian Business Association said they were not aware of the threats.

The FBI is hoping that anyone who has been approached with this scheme would contact law enforcement and file a complaint on ic3.gov.