Newly crowned Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf is allegedly the latest victim of sextortion.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed on Wednesday that it's investigating claims by Wolf and other women who say that their webcams were hacked, photos or video were taken surreptitiously, and that the hacker or hackers then demanded money in exchange for keeping the photos out of public disclosure, according to an LA Times Report.
Four months ago, Wolf said she received an email from a stranger who claimed he’d hacked into her computer’s webcam to take private photos of her in her bedroom.
The creepy news came as a shock to Wolf.
“I wasn’t aware that somebody was watching me (on my webcam)," she told Today.com. “The light (on the camera) didn’t even go on, so I had no idea.”
Agents believe they have identified the person behind the alleged "sextortion" scheme, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said Friday. No arrest has been made.
The emailer threatened to go public with images captured from Wolf's webcam unless she would provide nude pictures of herself, Eimiller said.
Instead, Wolf went the authorities.
Wolf has used her fame to highlight cybercrime
"Many victims are embarrassed or keep it to themselves," Eimiller said. "Coming forward is key to stopping the criminal activity."
With evolution of technology, 'sextortion' is becoming more common. In December, Christopher Chaney was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to hacking into celebrity computers and obtaining nude photos and personal information for people like Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and Christina Aguilera.
While it’s too early to have firm statistics on sextortion, experts on child exploitation tell NBC News, the number of instances is unmistakably on the rise and has coincided with the explosive popularity of social media and the age of a camera on every phone.
“We’re talking about kids with a lot of privacy and a lot of technology,” said Michelle Collins, vice president of the exploited children division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “And they’re at a sexually curious age.”
[caption id="attachment_68839" align="aligncenter" width="635"] CASSIDYWOLF VIA INSTAGRAM
Wolf (right) will be studying at the New York Film Academy in the fall. She plans to live in the dorms as a full-time student.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_68840" align="aligncenter" width="479"] The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed Wednesday they were investigating an alleged "sextortion" case involving newly crowned Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf from Orange County and other women.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_68837" align="aligncenter" width="635"] CASSIDYWOLF VIA INSTAGRAM
The 19-year-old said that Cat Deeley, the host of "So You Think You Can Dance," is her idol. “I would love to see myself in that position!” she told Hairpin.com.[/caption]
On The Web:
New Miss Teen USA claims she was the victim of an online extortion plot
FBI investigating 'sextortion' case targeting Miss Teen USA
Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf was hacked in 'sextortion' plot, FBI says
Experts increasingly worried about 'sextortion' of minors online
Miss Teen USA Nude Photo Extortion Claims Investigated By FBI