Extortionists Target 900,000 Homes, Businesses By Phone In Tijuana
By Erin Siegal
November 15, 2012

TIJUANA, Mexico -- A new poll by a market research firm shows that many businesses in the state of Baja California, Mexico are victims of extortion over the phone, just like private individuals have been.

In the first eight months of 2012, businesses in Tijuana and Baja California were asked to hand over nearly $2 million, said Mario Escobedo Carignan, coordinator of Baja's State Business Council.

Within the same period, the state's Center for Anonymous Complaints received nearly 900,000 reports of attempted extortion.

Threats typically mention kidnapped family members, and victims are told to deposit cash into specific bank accounts.

Now, a new survey released this week by Mexican market research group Imerk shows that local businesses are also targeted.

The findings have strengthened collaborative efforts between state authorities and business organizations. Public awareness campaigns are underway, including the distribution of free manuals through Facebook.

Those who receive threatening calls are encouraged to remain calm, hang up, and dial 089 to report the crime.