Scammers target family of missing Indianapolis teen to get ransom money

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A 17-year-old Indianapolis girl has been missing for 10 days. Her family turned to social media to get her picture out there in hopes someone has spotted her.

But, their plea for help on Facebook exposed them to a scary kidnapping scam.

The kidnapping scam is when families get a phone call saying their family member has been taken and it's not true. But this time, a family says they were targeted after they turned to Facebook to find their loved one who was actually missing.

17-year-old Kaylae Nicolay has been missing for more than a week. 10 days of fear and worry for her family. On the night of May 23, Kaylae's mom saw her on the couch watching tv...and the next morning she was gone.

Mary Armstrong says Kaylae had recently gotten out of the hospital. She says Kaylae has battled with her mental health for years. After contacting police, she hit the ground running trying to find her child.

"So I have done nothing but non-stop sent pictures, flyers, whatever I had to do over Facebook," Armstrong said.

And that's where she found a glimmer of hope. A woman sent her a message saying she had information about where Kaylae was.

"She said my daughter was kidnapped by the same man, I can give you the number..but he'll want a ransom. I had to pay $1,000 to get my daughter back," Armstrong said.

A woman using the Facebook name Mathilda Bmann gave her a phone number for the man she says had Kaylae.  Armstrong contacted him. He immediately asked for money, specifically iTunes gift cards.

"But he never told me exactly where to send it or anything and he was like go get a iTunes card. I'm like how do I know that this is you. Because I'm hopeful, this is my baby," Armstrong said.

The gift cards caused her older daughter to step in.

"And my mom is repeating the messages to me and I'm listening I'm like I just watched the news. The news just went off. I'm like I don't want to tell my mom this but I feel like it's a scam," Sieanna Baum said.

After researching on Facebook, they found other families who said they'd gone through the same thing with the person behind the same page.

"Prey on people like us who are hoping for any little light of detail where your child is at and then they tell me they're going to kill her," Armstrong said.

IMPD is investigating. The attorney’s general office says they have heard of this but it’s not common. They say if you find yourself in this situation call police immediately.

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