The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "extortion" as "the crime of getting money from someone by the use of force or threats." This is a fairly broad definition, but it suits a crime that can take on any dimension and occur at any level of society.
Many people think of extortion as the sole province of oily, creepy men with damning video footage, but that stereotype is too narrow to fully encompass this crime. The schoolyard bully threatening a classmate for lunch money is practicing extortion just as surely as the international terrorist threatening a city with a dirty bomb.
The proportions may be different, but the principle remains the same—give me your money, or else. Read ahead about a few cases of extortion that may make you rethink your assumptions.