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Advice for alerting about adoption scams?


Hello…

A bit of background… in February, we were contacted by email by a woman in a small town in another state who was trying to help a family member. The communications in February went on for a few weeks only over email; we didn’t take it too seriously at that early stage, but I did believe what I was reading. We didn’t get as far as medical records or even a call. It ended up going nowhere, then the Coronavirus took over and we put it quickly behind us. The email address didn’t appear anywhere on the Internet - which did register as a red flag but other things indicated that it could have been legit. 

We’ve been at this awhile and have gotten pretty skeptical due to a few painful experiences, so I have started documenting the IP addresses from towns that appear more than once on our search history or that we talk to, to see if we’re getting repeat visitors. (It’s just a sad way to torture myself usually.) So I had the IP address noted.

Cut to 3 months later, and we got a phone call. A woman told us she was calling for a family friend she was trying to help, and wanted a little more information about us. The phone number was from the same state as the earlier woman - but this woman had a completely different story about this friend and pregnancy / baby.

As always, I went right to the site history and checked the IP addresses to see if any recent visits matched the details she shared (a good way to spot a scammer sometimes). And there it was - the exact same IP address from February. Different name and different story. So, if I’m right, we seem to have been approached and lied to twice by the same person, pretty convincingly. We’ve been burned a few times by emotional scams so I shouldn’t be surprised, and I’m not angry - now that we know, it’s just not going any further.

But I do want to know if there are any reliable online spots or groups where people who suspect adoption scams can check to see if others have similar stories or post one? The Yahoo group I used to follow is defunct now. I wouldn’t want someone else to be hurt by an evident emotional scammer the way we have been before.

Thanks for any advice and sorry for the negative view. It has been a rough year.

Replies

Facebook has a group for scams I think. I can’t remember the name though.

I’m so sorry for what you have gone through. Some people are just terrible.

Posted by KChiarilli on May 19, 2020 at 1:22pm

I’m so sorry that you’ve been through this. I had a few experience that sound familiar, and I spent a significant amount of time researching the people who contacted us with scams by using the small bits of information they shared. It’s so exhausting.

I don’t know if there’s a space/site to track all of this but if you feel comfortable and have the IP address and the town information, I would consider contacting law enforcement. Chances are this person is doing this to others and there may already be a file.

You don’t need to apologize for the negative view at all. Your experience can inform and help others as they navigate a very complex and decentralized process. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Posted by LeeLee on May 19, 2020 at 10:39pm

There are always going to be one or two anecdotes where someone got connected online, or through a friend, or a doctor or whatever.
So maybe that will be hard to believe, but the truth is that it is very unlikely that somebody you don’t know is going to contact you by email or phone and offer you a baby.
You need to think about the ethics of how you are searching.If you are not going through a reputable agency, neither are the people who respond to you.

Posted by NoraT on May 25, 2020 at 2:29am

Good point Nora T. Also those connections thru a friend or doctor, are connected thru someone you know.
Otherwise good idea to check IP Address Someday 44. The frustrating thing is that even with all the awareness of agencies there will still be frauds, so continue posting here and checking anything that sounds unlikely, especially someone contacting you directly that you do not know.

Posted by Happy Camper on Jun 30, 2020 at 1:42am

Scam!

Posted by Happy Camper on Sep 25, 2020 at 10:52pm

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