Stay aware of extortion scams

Be aware of scammers trying to extort your private information for their own personal gain.

8 August 2022

An increasing number of Australians are being targeted by extortion scams. In an extortion scam, a scammer threatens to release valuable private information or get you into trouble unless you provide a form of payment or service to them. These scams are designed to frighten you into handing over your money, and can even include threats to your life. 

There are many types of extortion scams. A perpetrator could obtain something private of yours through deceptive means, such as passwords or private personal images (image-based abuse). They could threaten to release these to the public unless you pay money or do something for them.

Scammers may also impersonate government officials from agencies like Centrelink, Services Australia and the Department of Home Affairs claiming that you have overdue fees to pay, and scare you with the threat of arrest.

To help you stay safe from extortion scams, here are 7 tips.

  1. NEVER be pressured by a threatening caller. Hang up if you’re concerned and take some time to check whether their story is true.
  2. REMEMBER, a government agency or trusted company will not ask you to pay by unusual methods such as by gift or store cards, wire transfers or Bitcoins.
  3. DON’T use contact details provided by the caller. Verify their identity by calling the relevant organisation directly—use an independent source like a past bill or online search.
  4. DON’T respond to texts or emails from scammers. If you do, the scammers could escalate their intimidation and attempts to get your money. 
  5. BE CAREFUL with sharing private images of yourself online. Images can easily fall into the wrong hands.
  6. NEVER give credit card details, online account details or personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust and never by email or over the phone.
  7. DON’T give in to demands for money if you’re feeling threatened – paying a blackmailer will only result in more demands for payment

If you are contacted by someone trying to extort you, get in contact with the Police immediately. If think you have provided your Heritage Bank account, card or internet banking details to a scammer, contact Heritage as soon as possible on 13 14 22. 

Once you’ve protected yourself and your money, you can also report scams to the ACCC and report harm caused by online abuse or illegal and restricted online content to This helps protect others from similar scams. 

Latest news
Keep up-to-date with the latest news from Heritage Bank.
Learn more
Heritage Bank opens Macquarie Park branch
Contact us 24/7
Our local Australian contact centre is waiting for you. Call 13 14 22 or if overseas, call +617 4694 9000.
Scam alerts & fraud protection
Fight scammers with our help. Learn how we protect you from fraud and become savvy at identifying scams with our help guides and security tips.