WJTV News Channel 12 - Missing child Facebook scam snares Pasco mom

Missing child Facebook scam snares Pasco mom

Posted: Updated:
Christina Potwin Christina Potwin
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco (L) with Potwin (center) Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco (L) with Potwin (center)
Potwin posted this pic of her daughter on Facebook when she ran away Potwin posted this pic of her daughter on Facebook when she ran away
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -

Social media sites like Facebook can be a valuable tool for fighting crime, but one recent case in Pasco County shows that criminals can exploit that tool as well.

Christina Potwin says when he daughter Jasmine ran away, she first called authorities, and then looked for help on line.

"I was scared.  Distraught.  I thought somebody had my daughter," said Potwin.

Potwin posted her daughter's picture on Facebook, and asked if anyone had seen her.  A man named Christian Mills responded, and claimed to know where Jasmine was.  He told her if she paid him, he would give her the information.

Potwin says she realized it was all a lie when Mills told her to send money to Nigeria.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco says this case should be a lesson to all parents, to watch what you post on social media.

"We warn people, don't tell people, 'hey I'm about to go to the supermarket or my kids are leaving for school now'," said Sheriff Nocco.  "You know, those types of things give people in the community, people out there, 'hey, now that I know you've left your house, your house is empty, I'm going to burglarize it'. "

Christina Potwin's daughter was found safe and sound, and Christian Mills never got a penny of her money.

Potwin says it was a painful lesson to learn as a parent.

"Just that there are mean people out there.  Just to hurt them.  More than they are already hurting," said Potwin.  "And I hope it doesn't happen to anyone else 'cause it's the worst nightmare."

Pasco Sheriff's officials are working with federal authorities to track down Christian Mills, but they admit it's likely they will never catch him.

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