BOSTON (WHDH) - Red Sox star David Ortiz took to social media Wednesday to say he is being extorted. 

Ortiz discussed the situation in a video, saying hackers somehow got an old phone of his. Now, Ortiz said, the hackers are threatening to sell his personal information. 

In the now viral message, Ortiz said the phone is a more than 15-year-old device that he has not been using.

Speaking with 7NEWS Wednesday, former FBI Special Agent in Charge of Criminal and Cyber Investigations Tim Gallagher shared his reaction to the situation. 

“Getting out in front of the information when someone is trying to damage your reputation is a solid strategy,” Gallagher said. 

“He’s taking the shame out of it by saying ‘Hey, this can happen to you. It happened to me,’ and, at the same time, letting people know that there may be information coming out which may be damaging to his reputation,” Gallagher continued. 

Gallagher, now the managing director of digital investigations at Nardello and Company, said this is a classic case of extortion.

“Someone has information which are threatening to release and they are trying to extract money from the victim,” Gallagher said. 

“That technology may not have been as good back then,” he continued. “So, there’s always a chance that some data, although deleted, may still be on the device and a threat actor with the right cyber tools may be able to extract it and use it for nefarious purposes.”

Gallagher said, if the victim ends up paying up, “That could perpetuate more extortions.”

“And once they have money from you, they may come back to you again and again and again knowing that you’re willing to pay,” Gallagher said. 

So, in this case, Gallagher said he believes Ortiz is taking the right course of action by taking to social media. 

“He’s a national hero not just in our country, but in his country, the Dominican Republic as well,” Gallagher said. “These individuals, these threat actors, they target people with reputations.”

Experts say even threatening to extort someone is a federal offense. Following through with such a threat could mean more than 10 years in prison.

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