Miss Teen USA hacked: FBI probes 'sextortion' scheme (+video)
Miss Teen USA hacked: Cassidy Wolf, who won the Miss Teen USA crown Saturday, says someone hacked her bedroom computer webcam. The FBI is investigating more than a dozen victims of webcam spying in Riverside County.
Temecula, Calif. — The FBI is investigating allegations that the newly crowned Miss Teen USA was the victim of someone who hacked into a webcam in her Southern California bedroom several months ago in an attempt to extort nude photographs from her.
Agents believe they have identified the person behind the alleged "sextortion" scheme, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said Friday. No arrest has been made.
Wolf has said she would use her fame to highlight cybercrime, and earlier this week told the website of NBC's "Today" show that several months ago she received an anonymous email in which the sender claimed to have stolen images from the camera on her home computer.
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.
"Many victims are embarrassed or keep it to themselves," Eimiller said. "Coming forward is key to stopping the criminal activity."
Based on an investigation launched in March the FBI believes there are more than a dozen victims in all — from Riverside County, where Temecula is located, and beyond, Eimiller said.
Wolf's mother told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that her daughter was trying to “take a negative and turn it into a positive” by standing up to online bullies and cyberstalking, noting that those actions have driven some teens to take their own lives.
Wolf said her daughter was in New York, where she will attend the New York Film Academy. A phone message left Friday by The Associated Press for the mother was not immediately returned.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.