Extortion in the Digital Age

By Jordan Robertson - 2012-09-07T22:30:48Z

Photograph by Paramount/Everett Collection

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'Sextortion' Plot

In one of the creepiest cases of digital extortion, Luis Mijangos of Santa Ana, California, used file-sharing networks to infect the computers of women and teenage girls, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Once he had access, he searched for sexually explicit pictures of them and in some cases even turned on the victims' webcams to record them in "intimate situations." He then contacted his victims to demand that they provide more photos or videos, or else he'd publicize what he had, authorities said. Mijangos also admitted to listening to a private conversation through a victim's computer microphone.

Using the information he obtained, he would "play psychological games with his victims," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. In September 2011, he was sentenced to six years in prison.