The District Attorney is aware of recent reports about small businesses, especially restaurants, receiving threats that, unless they send money, a scammer will leave a negative internet review about them. Threatening to post negative reviews in order to obtain money is extortion. Extortion is a crime.

If you believe someone has left a fake review for extortion purposes or is threatening to do so, you should take the following steps:

  • Document the incident and obtain as much information as possible by taking screenshots, saving emails, etc.;
  • Contact your local law enforcement agency to make a report; and
  • Contact the review platform (Google, etc.) as soon as the threat is made and request the reviews be removed.

If the incident occurred in Alameda County, you could also contact the District Attorneys’ consumer protection unit at (510) 383-8600 or Email: