Is extorsion a common crime in your countries?
Two years ago, when my grandmother was still living, someone called our house: "mother, mother, some men took me with them, I'm now inside their car, I'm blind folded, they now want to talk to you, please help me and do what they say". Then there was the voice of a man, he sounded like someone from Northern Mexico: "listen carefully, do not call the police, do not call any authority or you'll regret it. Unfortunately we saw your daughter walking alone, we kidnapped her, this is "express kidnapping", please tell me if you can pay for her life". My 87 year old grandmother inmediately called our relatives asking for money so that we could pay the ransom wanted by these criminals.
Fortunately, some minutes later my mother came, she had been in the supermarket for two hours, she was never kidnapped and she knew nothing of such calls. We later learnt that this was some form of extorsion and that these criminals were mere con artists.
Last year another group of con artists tried a different thing. They called my house saying: "This is Sargeant X from airport and border police. Your son arrived to Mexico City on an international flight and he brought a large sum of money in foreign currency, he attepted to hide this from the tax authorities and he's now under our custody. It's our duty to arrest him and bring charges. However we can make an exception if you can send 10,000 MXN to my bank account and we will free him." I was at that time in France, the good thing was that they called my friend who was also in France and he told them I was with him and that we had no intention to take a flight to Mexico City.
They actually call every home of the country using the yellow pages. They know that many Mexicans have relatives abroad so they always have the chance to find "the right person". If one number fails then they try another, and so on.
Is this also happening in your countries?
Though I'm sure it happens, I don't know how common it is; I'd say blackmail would probably be more common.