It hasn’t been all glitz and glamor for the newly crowned Miss Teen USA 2013, Cassidy Wolf. According to the California native, before winning the pageant on Saturday, she was hacked and became the victim in an extortion plot.
Wolf, 19, who was crowned Miss Teen USA on Saturday at the Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas, said a stranger emailed her four months ago, claiming they hacked into her computer’s webcam. The person, who was not named due to an ongoing investigation, then reportedly told Wolf they had taken private photos of her in her bedroom.
“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.”
According to the blonde beauty, she first knew she was hacked when Facebook notified her that someone in another state had tried to log into her account. Later, she was contacted via email by the hacker, who promised to keep her photos out of the public, if she paid a sum of money.
The Miss Teen USA told Fox News that the stranger obtained pictures of her that a person does “in the privacy of your own room” that you "would never expect to be watched."
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Federal authorities are investigating the hacking and extortion, which is why Wolf could not reveal any more details about the case.
But the hacking attempt hasn’t gotten Wolf down; the beauty queen has already traveled to local schools near her hometown of Temecula, Calif., to raise awareness and warn students of Internet crime and how they can protect themselves.
“This all happened before I had a title,’’ Wolf said. “I was just a normal girl in high school. This next year I’m just so excited to be able to share my story and raise awareness in young teens about what can happen.”
Wolf warned others to keep safe online -- Internet users should routinely clear their browsing history as well as change their passwords, she noted.
"I had the same password for years," she said. "But now seeing that someone can hack into my stuff just by downloading an incorrect link, it's very important to change your passwords, delete your cookies."
The 19-year-old blonde said she’s also prepared herself for another attack by putting a sticker over her webcam when it’s not in use.
Wolf beat out 51 other women to take the title of Miss Teen USA 2013 on Saturday. Along with her pageant duties, Cassidy Wolf said she will be moving to New York City in the fall to study at the New York Film Academy.