How Should a Business Handle an Extortion Threat?

In today’s world of social media connectivity, business all over are putting stock in the kinds of things their patrons and clients are saying about them online. Websites like Yelp and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have opened everything from restaurants to hotels to banks to critical feedback.

And now, extortionists are threatening businesses with potential harmful reviews so they can get something out of it, be it money back, store credit or something free, like a meal, an item or a service. If the business in question does not adhere to a threat by a customer when it comes to getting something for free so they don’t leave a bad review or worse, inflict more damage on them in other forms, this counts as extortion.

Businesses should evaluate their customer service policies and factor in the potential damage a disgruntled customer or client could cause them online, including having a plan in place for dealing with these scenarios.

Trained Representatives

One of the best ways to handle these situations is to have the rightfully trained people at the ready. Businesses will want to ensure that they have managers or employees trained and experienced in handling these kinds of matters. If something like this occurs, employees should know to notify the designated employees who can de-escalate a situation over the communications with the parties involved.

These kinds of threats to get something for free should be taken seriously and handled by the right people with experience. If things aren’t pursued the right way, this could possibly lead to the disgruntled customer to actually follow through on their threats.

Insurance Protection

Fortunately for businesses, there are insurance protection plans in place to help safeguard against possible bad actors looking to get something out of nefarious actions. One industry that is seeing greater risk around extortion is the banking industry, especially with the rising reliance on digital banking. Scammers are finding sophisticated ways to hold account information and finances of customers and their banks ransom in exchange for information or will steal information if they do not get what they want, usually money.

Fortunately for banks there is a type of bank crime insurance that can help to keep scammers at bay. Coverage for extortion efforts should be weighed by financial institutions that want to avoid costly legal fees after an extortionist makes an attempt, be it successful or not, to steal information and valuable assets. Bank crime insurance should be seriously considered to protect against the major financial losses that can incur on top of other financial losses at the hands of extortionists who gain access to information or threaten to go public with certain data.

Handling Threats

The best possible solution that banks and other businesses have to deal with extortion cases and threats is typically dependent on fact. If someone makes a threat, a quick evaluation of the situation must be executed to gather all the facts about the threat and the people behind it.

From here, trained and expert parties can decide the best approach, which can take some advanced planning. Representatives trained in this matter, like those mentioned above, can take a few different approaches such as communicating their company’s policies, stating they don’t give into threats and blackmail attempts and that their company may send a cease and desist letter communicating that they will not respond to extortion.

If a threat is escalated and becomes more significant, trained staff might have to actually consider agreeing to give the threatening parties what they request. To avoid making matters worse, banks can have extortionist sign a confidentiality agreement so further action by the threatening party does not occur. This is not the ideal method, but it can stop more threats from occurring and can be summed up as the cost of doing business.


About Financial Guaranty Insurance Brokers

Since 1983, Financial Guaranty Insurance Brokers has distinguished itself as a provider of Professional Liability, Cyber Liability, and Crime insurance products for entities of all types. To receive timely, personalized service from a knowledgeable and experienced staff, call us today at (877) 485-4413 to speak with one of our professionals.