A Pittsburgh-area college student has found herself at the center of a multi-state police investigation after she led authorities to victims of an apparent pornographic blackmail scheme.
An online hacker obtained nude photos and partially nude photos of the Pittsburgh student, sent them to her Instagram account and threatened to publish them across the Internet if she didn’t send him more, according to a search warrant filed in North Carolina.
“It was awful. I'm not the type of person to get really scared about what people say to me,” she said. “I was actually really terrified about this guy.”
Investigators in North Carolina have identified more than a dozen other women who have also been caught up in the scheme, according to court documents.
The local victim, who asked for her identity to not be revealed, said she was contacted by an unknown Instagram user who sent her photos that she had taken and sent to an old boyfriend.
“Reality really hit me, and I was like, ‘This could actually ruin my entire life,’” she said.
Police warrants show that authorities have identified the perpetrator’s Instagram accounts with the names “the_lift_guy_” and “a_dannyboy.”
Authorities said some of the victims complied with the hacker’s demands and sent more nudes.
The Pittsburgh-area college student said she thought she had done everything possible to safeguard her accounts.
“I was really careful about my social media. I had all my sites blocked from other people,” she said.
So far, no charges have been filed in the case.
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