TODAY

TODAY   |  August 29, 2013

Miss Teen USA: ‘I was terrified’ by hacker blackmail

Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf was blackmailed by a computer hacker who had taken nude photographs of her through her webcam, and warns that it could happen to anyone. She says she plans to use her title to raise awareness about the issue.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> wolf is with us this morning exclusively. cassidy, good to see you.

>> good morning.

>> take me through that first moment which must have been terrifying when you received an e-mail with pictures of yourself. what was your initial reaction?

>> i was terrified. 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 very terrifying moment.

>> did you have any sense based on an e- mail address or anything who it might have been?

>> no. he had used an anonymous e- mail address . and i wasn't able to trace it back to somebody.

>> this is part of the reason you're speaking out is because you're thinking that other people in your position might be too afraid, might not tell the police or their parents. you have a message for them.

>> right. the message is to tell somebody. that's -- the longer it goes on, the worse it will get. if you can get the word out, talk to the authorities, it'll already help you. just get the word out and talk to somebody.

>> have you talked already to other women who have had this problem, who've become victims this way? i don't think we hear a lot about it in the press. perhaps you'll put a face to it now.

>> right. i wasn't the only victim. i'm sure it happened to thousands of people. but there have been 12 people who have been linked in with the case of me as well. just as miss teen usa i think it gives me a lot of voice to get the word out that this can happen and it happened to me when i was a normal girl and it can happen to anybody.

>> i know you can't say a lot about it because the case is ongoing.

>> right.

>> but the fbi investigated, and it sounds like they may be close to finding who did this.

>> i sure hope so.

>> were there any red flags at all before you received those e-mails in the months before? was there anything you said, something is strange here?

>> no. it was the night of that i received the e-mail. my facebook had notified me that someone had attempted to login. my twitter, instagram, all that kind of started to act a little slow. so then when i received the e-mail, it all came together and made sense.

>> this was before you were miss teen usa . but you were miss teen california, right?

>> yeah. i was miss california teen. it seems as though it could have been happening prior to that as well.

>> do you look at it as a positive in the sense that now you have the platform and you have your own personal experience to turn into something good, to tell others?

>> right. i feel as though it was meant to happen in a way. as hard as it was for me at the time. it's now given me the voice. and if i could help this from happening to somebody in the future, it would mean so much to me.

>> good for you. it's a brave thing to step out and talk about it. i think a lot of people probably appreciate what you're doing. congratulations on the big award. let's not forget, miss teen usa . cassidy, thank you so much.

>> thank you.

>> thank you so much.

>>> coming up, we will take a turn and we'll meet the 17-year-old american tennis phenom making waves at the u.s.