Facebook scammer targets desperate parents - FOX 13 News

Facebook scammer targets desperate parents

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When Christina Potland's nightmare unfolded, she turned to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and social media.

"I was scared and distraught I thought somebody had my daughter," she said.

Her daughter Jasmine ran away after a fight. The situation did not warrant an Amber Alert, so Christina posted a plea on her Facebook page.

"I shared it publicly and it actually went all over the nation. I had people contacting me from so many different states," she said.

Shortly after, a "Christian Mills" messaged her. He said her daughter was still in Florida and he had information. But, he wanted $300.

"I would have come up with it somehow," she said.

She knew something was out of place. "Mills" wanted the money sent to Nigeria, so she called deputies again.

"I have never had this happen before," said Detective David Boyer.

Detective Boyer said Christina did not do anything wrong. He said Nigerian scams aren't new, but don't normally target people searching for loved ones.

"She went above and beyond, I think it was very innovative. The intentions were very good, however there was somebody out in the shadows waiting to exploit her," he said.

Deputies doubt they will catch those involved in the Nigerian Facebook scheme, but they want other parents to know the dangers of posting for help on a social media website.

"This is an international issue and it could happen again," Detective Boyer said.

Christina was lucky. Her daughter came home unharmed. She is now careful about what she posts online, and wants others to remember her story.

"I hate him and I hope he never does this to another parent again," she said.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said they have forwarded the case to the FBI.

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