We’re headed into Week 2 of Catfish Season 4 as Nev Schulman continues to find temporary replacements for his silver-haired co-host Max Joseph, who was busy with his feature-length directorial debut, We Are Your Friends, at the time of filming the first six episodes.
In the season premiere we were treated to the hilarious commentary of Catfish fan (and live tweeter extraordinaire) Charlamagne Tha God, and this week Nev teams up with a young woman who is no stranger to the dangers of internet technology, Miss Teen USA 2013 Cassidy Wolf. Cassidy made headlines just weeks after winning the title when her former high school classmate Jared James Abrahams was arrested for hacking her computer and then blackmailing her with explicit photos he obtained using her computer’s camera.
Jared (photo above) reportedly stalked Cassidy via her computer for a full year before Cassidy got a notice from Facebook that someone had tried to change her password. She then realized that some of her other online profiles had been altered, including her Twitter account, which had been changed to feature a half-nude profile photo of Cassidy.
Not long after this, Cassidy received an anonymous email with photos of her in various states of undress, including ones taken at her previous residence months prior. “Either you do one of the things listed below or I upload these pics and a lot more,” the email read, according to the criminal complaint. “(I have a LOT more and those are better quality) on all your accounts for everybody to see and your dream of being a model will be transformed into a p0rnstar.”
The demands were to either participate in a five-minute Skype session and “do what I tell you to do,” or send higher quality photos and videos of herself.
“I started screaming (when I first got the email), bawling my eyes out,” Cassidy told Today. “I was on the phone with my mom, and I felt helpless because I wasn’t sure what to do, so it was a very terrifying moment.” Cassidy added, “You would never think somebody would be watching you in your room and this guy had been. The thought of that just gave me nightmares.”
Here’s Cassidy Wolf’s Today show interview:
And her interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper:
“Your bedroom is your most private and intimate space,” Cassidy told Anderson Cooper. “To think that someone was watching me in my bedroom for a year and had all my most intimate moments, he had conversations I had with my mom and my brother, and knew everything about my life — someone can have access to all of that by your computer.”
In the criminal complaint there were 12 total victims of Jared’s hacking sextortion scheme, but prosecutors say he hacked into 100 to 150 other unknowing victims’ computers as well. One of the victims listed in the complaint was 17 when Jared contacted her. She was reportedly downloading Skype to comply with his videoconferencing demand when she begged Jared to “have a heart” because she so young. Jared’s response was, “I’ll tell you this right now! I do NOT have a heart!!!” (Another female victim was reportedly 14 at the time he took photos of her.)
Jared later pleaded guilty to extortion and computer hacking in November of 2013 and was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. For some odd reason there doesn’t appear to be a Jared Abrahams mug shot photo, but here is a video of him leaving the courthouse after posting bail prior to pleading guilty:
After Cassidy won the title of Miss Teen USA 2013 she used the platform to speak to young women about the threat of cyber crimes.
Here’s the first ten minutes of Catfish Season 4 Episode 2 in which Nev Schulman introduces Cassidy Wolf and her story before revealing that the episode was going to be completely cray cray because it all started by the show’s casting department getting catfished by an alleged catfish victim!
Be sure to tune in to Catfish Wednesday night at 10/9c on MTV. While you wait, here’s a little throwback video of Cassidy rocking the swimwear competition on her way to taking home the Miss Teen USA 2013 crown: