Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How the adoption scam works


You get an email from someone. They say they are a search angel. They say they were hired by your son / daughter / sibling / aunt / parent to find you. And they found you. Your relative will be contacting you shortly.

You can’t believe it. All these years, all these registry postings. All the money you’ve spent on court fees or registry fees or public records database fees.

You’re over the moon happy.

Then you get the phone call, the one you’ve been longing for. You cry together over the phone. It is the reunion of your dreams. This person is so interested in you. They want to know everything about you.

You can’t believe it's finally happened for you.

You’re emailing constantly. You’re on the phone with each other. You’re sending pictures back and forth. And then they let it slip. Oh, they wanted to find you so bad, they did everything, everything, everything to find you. And they paid that search angel. They would have paid anything to find you, honestly, but money is so tight. Could you help reimburse them a little for their expenses?

Or – they can’t wait to see you. The emails and the phone calls are great, but they want to see you face to face. They want to be able to hug you, to look into your eyes. They want to fly out to see you, but money is so tight. Could you please paypal them $200 or so for travel fees?

Be careful.

There’s scum in them there search lists.

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Update: Please see the comments, and especially this post by Suz: Scam I Am, for more information. The thread on adoption.com she refers to is here.

7 complaints from ingrates:

Margaret,  May 27, 2008 at 11:02 AM  

Ugh!

We've actually had our own, much simpler, version of this happening. It killed me that someone would use on of my children to try to get money out of me.

Ungrateful Little Bastard May 27, 2008 at 11:09 AM  

Oh my god, but I totally can see it. When people see adoption scam they automatically think of the people who are scamming prospective adoptive parents, but there are others out there too.

Suz,  May 27, 2008 at 1:51 PM  

Actually happened to me personally. Had someone contact me claiming to be my daughter. (Look up the thread on adoption.com titled "does this email look familiar")

Have also had friends scammed (again, people claiming to be our children).

Try this post of mine for example.
Scam I Am.

Very sick and very cruel.

readingwritingliving May 27, 2008 at 3:50 PM  

No. Way. This just took my breath away. I am by nature a fairly gullible person and I can see myself SO FALLING for this.

Anonymous,  May 27, 2008 at 4:19 PM  

I heard this warning from another list a couple of years ago.

All I can say is that if the person is genuine, they will never ask you for money. I found my son but I would never dream of asking him to fund my search no matter how much it costs.

It takes a real scumbag to use vulnerable people this way.

Anyone who asks for money should be told to take a long walk off a short pier - they are not the real deal.

Cathy

Ungrateful Little Bastard May 27, 2008 at 4:55 PM  

There are different variants of it, but it's been going on for a long time, and they're getting better.

We always hear on the news about the scammers who go after the prospective adoptive parents, but nothing about the scammers who hit up adoptees, first parents, and adoptive parents who are searching on behalf of minor adoptees.

Sunshine May 31, 2008 at 5:38 PM  

The scams. For starters if they claim they hired a Search Angel be wary. Search Angels aren't hired, they are volunteers. If there are any expenses incurred by a search angel they are minimal such as having a microfiche index search done or a marriage license copy. The angel themselves do not charge for their time thus only IF they get a copy etc will their be a expense. Your loved one will most likley have to pay nothing...at most 100.00 hardly anything to ask you for money for.

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