Needless to say, scams involving innocent children are high up on a morality barometer. And adoption scams are surely the worst of them.
Adoption scams involve intentional misrepresentation and/or criminal activity surrounding the adoption process. They may involve adoption agencies, facilitators, birth mothers, and, sometimes, even potential adoptive parents.
Adoption is a highly emotional experience. And a lengthy one. And bureaucratic. Expect plenty of ups and downs. Of course, the biggest down is getting mixed up in an adoption scam. Therefore, reach out for support and guidance in advance. That’s the best way to avoid nine months of deception.
Examples of Adoption Scams
Actually, there are a number of different scams associated with the adoption process. All aim to lure in unsuspecting adoptive parents for financial gain. Examples include:
- An adoption agency levying an unusually high fee for the adoption process
- Adoption agencies charging for services that they did not provide
- Agencies that purposefully withhold critical information about the child
- A pregnant woman who offers her baby to multiple families
- A woman who is not pregnant and has no intention to conceive
- Any person who attempts to sell a baby online for monetary payment without any authorization
How to Avoid Adoption Scams
Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs
Adoption scams have warning signs. Know what they are in advance. Therefore, do not begin the adoption process unless you understand it step-by-step. In addition, do not hesitate to ask questions. Most importantly, voice whatever concerns you have until you the matters you raise are fully addressed to your satisfaction. In simple terms, ignoring warning signs may be both costly and emotional.
Choose an Experienced Adoption Professional
The best way to protect yourself from a scam is to seek advice from a trusted adoption professional. For instance, professionals will guide you on your adoption journey and advise you every step of the way. Moreover, adoption professionals also liaise with one another and will alert you to suspicious activity in the adoption community.
Make Sure to Get Proof of Pregnancy
First, confirm that the birth mother provides proof of pregnancy. If you are going through an adoption professional, they ought to have this information available. If they do not, that’s a red flag. Furthermore, make sure that the pregnancy test results carry the signature of a licensed medical professional.
Consider a Background Check
Likewise, you have to know if the mother is healthy in order to properly care for the infant. If she is not forthcoming, consider hiring a private investigator. Background checks are a relatively easy and inexpensive method of obtaining that information. In the same vein, check the reputations of her attorneys, her doctor, as well as the agency handling her case. You can start by consulting the Better Business Bureau or review sites like Trustpilot.
Certainly, a face-to-face meeting with the birth mother is an excellent way to emotionally connect and identify her character. However, constant excuses, cancellations and delays should raise a red flag. In short, exercise extreme caution if she exhibits such irregular behavior.
Needless to say, social media sites and basic Google searches can assist in identifying repeat scammers. For example, you can perform a search against a person’s name, phone number, IP address, and photo if you are suspicious.
Steps to Take if You Have Been Scammed
In conclusion, if you sense that you have identified an adoption scam, here are the steps that you should immediately take. First, stop all payments and cancel all outstanding checks and debit orders. Second, contact your attorney and local authorities. Finally, notify the adoption board and law enforcement.
If you think you’ve been the victim of an adoption scam, contact the fund recovery experts at MyChargeBack.