Sextortion – A fused compound word that describes the modern online predator. For the recently crowned Miss Teen USA, her form of sexual exploitation came via a coercion threat: A 19-year-old teen threatened to release secret sexual images of her if she didn’t provide more nude photos, reports NBC News on Sept. 26.
Cassidy Wolf, 19, took the Miss Teen USA 2013 title last month, but her short reign has been marred with a cybercrime sextortion attempt. Wolf, along with seven other contestants in the Miss Teen pageant, were contacted by Jared James Abrahams, a student from Temecula, California, who had explicit photos of the girls.
Abrahams used malicious software to manipulate the girl’s webcams, videotaped them nude, and then blackmailed his victims with emails with the still photos attached. He told Wolf and the others that they must either send him more nude pics, or Skype with him and “do what I tell you to do.” If not, he would make the photos public.
“You’ll be plastered all over the internet… I’ll turn your dream of being a model into a pornstar!” –Abrahams’ email to Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf
“Abrahams used malicious software to disguise his identity in order to capture nude photos or videos of victims through remote operation of cameras on their home computers without their consent,” a police report said.
Wolf was the first victim of Abrahams and also was an alleged acquaintance. The FBI first found out about the sextortion case back in March, when a previous victim became concerned when she was advised by Facebook that her email password had been changed. The unnamed victim then received “an extortionate email” with nude photos attached, demanding she comply.
Abrahams surrendered to the FBI this week on federal extortion charges.
One of the girls targeted was a 17-year-old, whose name was not released. She agreed to Abrahams’ request to Skype him, but needed to download the software. She allegedly told him, “I’m downloading Skype now. Please remember I’m only 17. Have a heart.” Abrahams’ pitiless reply: “I’ll tell you this right now. I do NOT have a heart!!!”
A search warrant was executed at Abrahams’ home, south of Los Angeles where he lives with his parents. The “suspect admitted to infecting people’s computers with malware, watching his victims change their clothes and using photographs against his victims,” the police complaint read.
If convicted, Abrahams faces two years in federal prison, but additional charges may be pending as the FBI continues their investigation. Abrahams was set to appear in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana Thursday afternoon.