Once a victim, Miss Teen USA now fights 'sextortion'
Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf came on TODAY Thursday to talk about a cybercrime that she said occurred months before she was crowned.
Wolf said she was a victim of "sextortion,'' in which perpetrators demand sexual favors to prevent them from releasing intimate photos or videos online that are often obtained through hacking into computers, webcams and smartphone cameras.
Four months before Wolf won the title, she said a stranger hacked into her computer webcam without her knowing it and took nude photos of her in her bedroom. He tried to extort her by saying she would have to "perform" for him or he'd the nude photos online.
"I was terrified," she said on TODAY Thursday. "I started screaming, bawling my eyes out. I was on the phone with my mom, and I felt helpless because I wasn't sure what to do, so it was a very terrifying moment."
Her mom called the police right away, she told national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen. The incident has triggered an investigation by the FBI, who believe the same person who hacked into her webcam did it to at least a dozen other women. No arrests have been made.
"The message is to tell somebody," she said. "The longer it goes on, the worse it will get, so if you can get the word out, talk to the authorities, it will already help you. So just get the word out and talk to somebody."