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Miss Teen USA Is the Latest Victim in Online ‘Sextortion’ Trend

Cassidy Wolf says she was contacted anonymously by a hacker who claimed to have nude photos of her.
Ms. Wolf (

Ms. Wolf (

The FBI is investigating a “sextortion” plot involving Cassidy Wolf, who was crowned Miss Teen USA last weekend, according to the L.A. Times. Though an official declined to elaborate on details of the case, including whether or not a suspect had been targeted, the plot is the latest incident in a series of sextortion scandals in which hackers gain access to personal information about a victim and use it to manipulate them into handing over nude photos.

In Ms. Wolf’s case, a hacker emailed her claiming he had captured nude photos taken of her when he took control of her computer’s webcam; he attempted to extort her to keep the photos he claimed to have from going public.

Sextortion is similar to the revenge porn phenomenon, though differs slightly. With revenge porn, people–typically scorned exes–publish victims’ nude photos in order to get back at them, without giving victims the chance to reason with them. Sextortion, on the other hand, more frequently happens when a stranger uses social media information or hardware accessibility to attempt to get something, like money, from the victim in exchange for keeping the photos private.

You can read Betabeat’s previous coverage of revenge porn, including a feature about a woman speaking out against the phenomenon, here.

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