The Three Adoption Scams of Christmas, Part 1

This guest post is by Leah B., an adoptive mother whose profile had been posted on our Find A Family page, part of a special holiday series on how to protect yourself from open adoption scams.

adoption-scamYou don’t need to have an advanced degree in human psychology to know that the holidays might not be so merry if, say, you’ve been on the waiting list to adopt a child for a while. This unpleasant fact is not lost on opportunistic adoption scammers.

This is my first holiday season on “the list,” and during the first couple weeks of this month I received three different types of scams. Two of the scams were pretty obvious, but one could have trapped someone.

Luckily my husband and I had set a baseline to prevent our emotions from getting away from us. None of the scams met our standards. After the third scam I thought, why aren’t aspiring adoptive parents sharing these with one another? Sure, there are articles on how to spot a scam, but why aren’t we sharing actual scams to warn each other?

A new adoption scam 

That’s when I reached out to Lawrence and we started talking about how adopting parents are vulnerable to scammers and about ways to protect themselves.

Something else you should know, I’ve been an Internet marketer since the early days of email, and it’s my job to study human behavior and patterns online.

Now back to the scammers. Let’s kick off “Three Adoption Scams of Christmas” with a scam that initially seemed like it could be legit.

Scam #1: Why Pay For A Holiday When You Can Get Americans Hoping to Adopt To Do It For You?

Subject: Hello

hello, my name is Marie and i am 7 months pregnant with a baby that i may not wish to keep for some reasons. i explained to a friend of mine and she told me about getting the suitable parent for my child on the internet. i have spent a lot of time reading through profiles just to look for the best parent for my unborn child. i don’t know much about the process but i will like you to raise this child as your own as i am sure that you will love him and take good care of him. kindly reply me if you are interested in adopting and taking him in. Regards Marie

Looking up her adoption attorney

“Hello” as a subject line from a stranger can be suspect, but this email sounded sincere enough. I responded by explaining that “Marie” needed to contact our non-profit agency to move forward with her adoption plan.

Well, no sooner had I clicked “send” when “Marie’s” 350-word response was delivered immediately to my inbox. Either “Marie” types like she’s on fire or she has an auto-responder email set up.

“Marie” went on to explain that she was British-American and based in London! She described an unfortunately typical situation where she got involved with the wrong guy (a Liverpudlian – who doesn’t like to use that word?) who was not supportive. “Marie” also mentioned that she had no money and would I contact her adoption “lawyer” Jason Crouch, whose email address was…

I looked up Jason Crouch Not there. Nor did he have a LinkedIn profile. I also did a Google search for “Jason Crouch London Adoption Attorney.” Still no results. I figured it must be case of “Crouching Scammer, Hidden Lawyer.”

I have to congratulate Jason for being the only adoption attorney on Planet Earth who does not need to advertise. For good measure, I Googled the email and phone number “Marie” provided. Again no results.

Why adoption scams stink

There are a couple of things about this scam that stink, Why would someone in London want to place a child in the US? Let’s put it another way: If you were pregnant in the US and exploring adoption, would you email people in the UK?

“Marie” claimed to be British-American, but she made mistakes like using expressions such as “Reply me” that are not typical of a native speaker, whether he be British or American. Also, if she were raised in the UK, why would she use American spelling? Wouldn’t someone raised in the UK use British spelling?

I suspect “Marie” was looking for a free plane ticket. No “Marie,” I will not be your personal Travelocity so you can visit America. If you want to get away, I hear the beaches in Cornwall are lovely.

Does “Marie” sound familiar to you? What kinds of experiences have you had with open adoption scammers? What advice do you have for other couples hoping to adopt? Share your comments in the space below.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “The Three Adoption Scams of Christmas” tomorrow.

Leah B. and her husband, Jeff, whose parent profile had been posted on our Find A Family page, are (now) adoptive parents from in Chicago, IL.

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