Polumbo's lawyer, Anthony Caruso, said that starting last week, Polumbo, her family and officials in the Miss New Jersey Education Foundation received packages with pictures of her and the demand that she resign by Friday.
Caruso said the pictures show her with some friends and some may have been photos that she posted years ago on a private Internet site.
Did they reveal skin that a pageant-sanctioned swimsuit would cover up? College students behaving badly, perhaps? Caruso would not say.
"I don't think the photos are that bad," Caruso said. "The people posting this blackmail scheme are trying to make these photos out to be worse than I think they are."
He said he couldn't comment further because more photos could arrive and change everything.
Officials at the Miss America Organization and the New Jersey affiliate did not immediately return messages. But Caruso said the New Jersey competition officials were on board with her trying to fight back.
Caruso said he was planning to contact law enforcement officials to see whether any laws were broken.
"It's a real shame because she's a sweet kid," the lawyer said. "She's got a stellar background and she's very talented, and it just seems we can never get away from this in our culture."
If Polumbo did step down for some reason, first runner-up Ronica Licciardello would become Miss New Jersey.
Reached by phone at her Mount Laurel home today, Licciardello said she had not heard of the scandal. "I hope this situation is resolved in the best way possible," she said.
Polumbo is not the first pageant winner to have problems stemming from old photographs.
In 2002, Miss North Carolina Rebekah Revels gave up her crown after an ex-boyfriend told pageant executives he had topless photos of her. The photos never surfaced, but the damage was done. Miss America 1984, Vanessa Williams, was forced to resign when Penthouse published nude photos of her.
Both of those women rebounded. Revels later became Miss United States in the Miss World competition. Williams has found enduring fame as a pop singer and actress.