Chapter 9: Avoiding Scams

They exist.

It’s so sad. They don’t always want money. Sometimes these women just need attention. There are even websites that teach others how to scam. I won’t share those websites as I feel they have done enough damage.

Regardless of the motive, scams happen when hoping to adopt. It’s terrible.

Here’s a few of the tips and tricks we have learned in our short time of being hopeful adoptive parents:

  1. If she wants to text/talk only late at night and all through the night, this is a red flag. Proceed with caution.
  2. The baby was just born or is only a few days old. This isn’t a guarantee (nothing is), however, these scammers love to take you on a crazy roller coaster and a newborn is just the ticket.
  3. Ask your profile provider to give you her IP Address. See if it matches up with her phone number and where she says she is.
  4. Use her number and name to run Facebook searches. Most people have a Facebook, even if they don’t use it often. I’ve found that younger women also add their phone number to their Facebook account, making it easier for you to confirm that they are who they say they are.
  5. Ask for a picture of her and/or an ultrasound. Then, open Google Image search and drag the image into the search bar. Google will tell you all of the places on the internet where that image can be found. If it’s nowhere, this is good. If it’s on multiple sites, proceed with caution and continue to do your research. Flickr tends to be a scammers paradise.
  6. Some profile sites allow you to talk to the other hopeful adoptive couples. This is a gold mine. Reach out to them if it feels at all fishy. When we were scammed, we found out that she was texting four other couples at the same time. We also found out that she had been using the same story for years and may of the users had already been contacted by her. What a blessing those other couples are to you.
  7. Yahoo has an adoption scam group you can join. This is an amazing resource of information because it’s not subject to one profiling site.
  8. Crisis. Do they seem panicked? This can be a red flag.
  9. Asking for money. This may seem obvious when you’re level headed, but when you think this young lady may bring you all of the joy and happiness you’ve been praying for, it’s easy to ignore the obvious. Do not hand over money. No matter how compelling their story is, talk to your attorney or agency first. They will guide you through this.
  10. They won’t talk to your agency/attorney. Why not? I realize it’s a commitment to talk to an agency/attorney, but if they have expressed interest in placing with you – then why not talk?  There’s no commitment through a phone call. Skirting the agency/attorney is an indicator.
  11. Lots of excuses to not talk/skype.
  12. Seems completely unattached to the baby they are carrying.
  13. Go with your gut! I cannot over emphasize this enough. Listen to that still small voice that speaks to you. It can be SO HARD. You want a child and to meet that perfect person who will provide that for you. Pray. If it feels off, it probably is.

I may sound crazy and paranoid. I’m not. Scams are EVERYWHERE. The internet makes it really easy to mess with people. People who are emotionally vulnerable = hopeful adoptive parents.

Luckily, not all contacts are scams. There is opposition in all things, and adoption is no different. Don’t assume everyone who contacts you is a scam, but use caution. Not everyone is a scam. In fact, they are usually the most wonderful women you will ever meet with different stories and backgrounds. Even if they do not choose to place with you, love them. They may just need support.

Love them.

Love Others