Spotting an adoption scammer.

Loni Adoption, Communication, Emotion, Family Leave a Comment

Written by: Emily Anderson, LCSW

We find that some couples approach adoption with the fear that they will get scammed by an expectant mother. Unfortunately, this does happen however it is not as common as believed. With the help of some of our clients we have compiled a list of tips to keep in mind for situations where you think you may be in the midst of a scam. It is advised that if you are feeling as though you may be getting scammed to always consult with your caseworker to determine the best approach. Caseworkers can reach out to expectant mothers and often request information that may be awkward for an adoptive couple to ask- especially in the begining stages of contact. If the expectant mother is legit then that caseworker can help ensure she moves forward with support she may need. If she is a scammer the caseworker can help identify red flags. It is important to note that there are oftentimes expectant mothers who are REAL that do some of the things listed below.

  • Often  times scammers use Google Voice #’s. Enter their number into a site like www.phonevalidator.com and if they are using anything other than a personal cell number it will say “BANDWIDTH.COM – POSSIBLE GOOGLE VOICE OR OTHER VIRTUAL PHONE NUMBER”

  • Find their social media sites!!!! On Instagram see who they follow and what the comments look like, often they don’t have a lot of comments and follow random people. Look at the people they follow, look for other adoptive couples, fake accounts, etc. On Facebook make sure the page isn’t brand new, look through their friends, if they don’t follow any family members – huge red flag. Most people have at least one social media account, if you can’t find one it’s likely they are using a fake name.

  • Pay $0.95 for a Spokeo check (spokeo requires a membership for $20 a month but if you cancel within 7 days you just pay the $0.95) Enter their phone number and see who it’s registered to and where the calls are coming from. Keep in mind that often younger girls have phones registered to family members.

  • Run a reverse image search on Google – https://images.google.com/

  • Check scam boards online and on Facebook – My favorite is “Putting an end to adoption scams” but there are many!

  • Look for red flags with emotional scammer. They often talk about hospital stays, family emergencies, etc. They are typically very dramatic and love to get sympathy. If their stories sound too good to be true, they likely are.

  • Keep track of names they mention and look into those people as well, often times they aren’t using real family names.

  • Do not rely on ultrasounds and belly pictures for pregnancy confirmations – sites like http://www.fakeababy.com/ allow you to make real ultrasounds and we have had at least one scammer use this!

Adoption scams can be emotionally draining and can leave a sour taste towards adoption for some couples. It is crucial to work through these feelings whether it is allowing yourself a break, time to regroup and/or processing it through with a caseworker. This is crucial in allowing you to approach the next/real expectant mother with a positive outlook and will in turn protect her from being the target of unresolved grief/feelings an adoptive couple has from a scam. It is important to view each relationship with an expectant mother based off what she is sharing with you and not based off of past experiences/scams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *