Attempting to adopt a child can be challenging and frustrating. Prospective parents often deal with extended waiting periods, mountains of red tape and lots of disappointment along the way. Parents who are desperate to adopt can be vulnerable to scammers who collect thousands of dollars in fees and expenses and then disappear without ever providing a child.
If you’re thinking of adopting a child, you need to be aware of the numerous scams that exist today. Look for telltale signs such as:
- Request for money: An immediate appeal for cash to cover costs such as transportation, rent or medical expenses often indicates that something is amiss. Never pay a birth parent directly — ask your adoption attorney to manage any payment requests for you so that he or she can verify their legitimacy.
- Overly eager: Most birth parents want to be sure their child gets a good home and will be raised by caring and loving adoptive parents. If the birth mother appears overly concerned about expediting the adoption process and doesn’t seem the least bit interested in you, it should be a cause for alarm.
- Unwillingness to speak with you: The initial contact with a birth parent often occurs via email, which makes it difficult to know who you’re dealing with. Attempt to set up a telephone or face-to-face interview with the birth mother. If she declines or you don’t get a response, it should send up a red flag.
- Questionable phone number: If the birth mother does provide a phone number, make sure it’s a personal cell number or landline. Phonevalidator.com is a free online tool that enables you to verify a phone number and the location of a device. Be wary of anyone who provides an untraceable Google Voice phone number.
- Bogus social media site: Most people — especially younger people — have at least one social media account these days. Look for signs that the birth mother’s profile might be fake, such as a recently opened account or the absence of family members listed as friends. The lack of any social media account at all is another potential red flag.
- No proof of pregnancy: Ask the birth mother to provide a copy of her ultrasound so you can confirm her pregnancy. Better yet, since it’s easy to get a fake ultrasound these days, seek permission to speak to her physician. If she refuses, it could be a sign that she isn’t pregnant and is trying to scam you.
- Appearing on scam boards: A quick Google search will produce a variety of scam boards where people can post warnings about adoption scams. Check to make sure the birth mother you’re dealing with isn’t already a notorious scammer.
Get Help From an Experienced Adoption Attorney
A knowledgeable attorney can show you how to spot an adoption scam. If you’re in the Greenville, South Carolina, area, the family law experts at Lauren Taylor Law can provide the guidance you need to avoid becoming the victim of a scam artist. Contact our firm to learn more.
South Carolina divorce attorney Lauren Taylor is an authority on family law in Charleston and Greenville. Lauren Taylor Law is an authority on divorce, child support, and alimony in South Carolina. She graduated from the Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing for several years now. Lauren Taylor relies on her experience and passion to fight for you during this stressful time. Learn more about her experience here.