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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
Country star Brad Paisley and his wife, Kimberly, thought they were helping a little girl who was dying of cancer, but police say the whole thing turned out to be a lie, and the Paisleys were victims of a hoax.
Police believe the woman who claimed to be the girl's mother was nothing but a scam artist who used the child to get close to the country star and his wife.
The Paisleys say they were contacted by a stranger through the Internet who claimed her daughter was dying of neuroblastoma. The mom even sent pictures and recordings.
The Paisleys felt moved and reached back out, and Brad reportedly even sang Amazing Grace over the phone.
But it was all nothing more than a hoax. The real girl dying of neuroblastoma lives in California, and the photos were stolen from her website.
"We know that right now there are a lot of people out there trying to exploit good people," said Kenneth Thomas, CEO of Archangel Protective Services, which specializes in personal security.
Thomas said attempted fraud against superstars is common, and social media just makes it easier.
Crooks try to prey on celebrities' vulnerabilities, so security companies have had to completely change the way they do their jobs.
"So, in a case like with the Paisleys, if they were working with an organization like ours, as soon as they would have received that email, then it would have been our job to follow up and see if it was real," Thomas said.
Thomas says he doesn't blame the Paisleys, because this type of thing happens all the time, but he does hope it serves as a warning.
If it can happen to the famous, it can definitely happen to you.
"Even just regular, every day people, we all have those same vulnerabilities, Facebook pages. Those things are cues for bad guys who exploit those things," Thomas said.
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