One of the victims of a Cincinnati scammer is Paula Sylla. Sylla claims that two years ago her then, 45-year-old brother vanished out of thin air. It’s reported that he experienced addiction. For two years, she’s fronted the search for her missing brother, until recently when her grand-niece entered the hospital with brain injuries.
Sylla’s great-niece Bailey, experienced an accidental drowning, which she survived, late last year. However, her life took a turn last week when she began getting text messages on her phone from an unfamiliar number. The sender claimed to have her brother as a hostage. The sender claimed that they would release her brother if Sylla provided them with funds. Otherwise, her brother would lose his life after two-years of living as a hostage.
The proof from the sender was a doctored photo of Sylla’s brother with duct-tape added over his mouth. Sylla recognized that the photo was quite probably a fake. However, she admits that the initial shock of the photo left no doubt in her mind that her brother was alive somewhere, captive. Cincinnati Police spoke with her and helped bring in the reality of the situation.
Now, Sylla is reaching out to the local community. She was being scammed and understands that but wants other people to know that they could be at risk too. The FBI has alerted the greater public through press releases that similar scams are circulating the country. While her world involving a missing person, and a brain-injured toddler was mildly disrupted, others may have more time available to devote to these scams before understanding it’s fake.
Cincinnati Police report that anyone receiving similar text messages, phone calls, or other demands for money through electronic communications should contact police immediately.
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