Experience: scammers used AI to fake my daughter’s kidnap

  • August 4, 2023
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No part of me questioned whether this was real – I had to save my baby

‘Mom?” repeated my daughter’s voice on my phone. “I’ve messed up.” My heart sank and I started trembling. I heard a man instructing her to lie down and put her head back. My 15-year-old daughter, Briana, was at a skiing competition with my husband two hours away, and I instantly thought she’d been badly hurt. I was in my car, picking up her sister Aubrey, who is 13, from dance class in Arizona. Over the phone, I heard Briana bawling and shouting, “Help me, help me.” My blood ran ice cold and my legs turned to jelly as the man on the phone began explaining that he had my daughter, and if I told anyone he would pump her stomach full of drugs, drop her in Mexico and I would never see her again.

I sprinted into the lobby of the building where Aubrey was having her dance class. Putting the phone on mute, I wailed for help from the other parents. By this point, the man was shouting threats down the phone. A couple of mothers started calling 911. Coming out of class to hear what the fuss was about, Aubrey was thrown into a panic too. I pleaded with her to try to contact the rest of the family, but she was frozen in terror. I’ll never forget her face as she tried to process that someone had taken her sister.

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