Perhaps one of the saddest of all, adoption fraud preys on a segment of our population that is among the most vulnerable. In one scam, fraudsters look for names and contact information for couples who may desperately want to adopt a child. There are many legit websites that people who want to adopt can use to advertise their availability and willingness to become involved in a private adoption.

That's one place the problems can start. If a predator sees an easy opportunity, s/he goes in for the kill. A prospective birth mother might be exactly who she represents herself to be ... or she might be a scam artist.

Here are some red flags of adoption fraud:

  • Use reputable agencies.
  • Remember the words "Caveat Emptor," Latin for Buyer Beware.
  • Check out the birth mother ... carefully.
  • Do not rely solely on the Internet.
  • If you are using an agency, get references and check them carefully.
  • Know the adoption laws.
  • Talk to the State Licensing authorities; inquire as to past complaints.
  • Go one step further; check the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General's Office and the State Social Services office.
  • Birth parents who ask about money
  • Birth parents who do not want to see a licensed medical doctor.
  • Birth parents who live in motels or are otherwise transient.
  • Birth parents who use only cell phones.
  • Birth parents who have no real references, family or long term friends.
  • Birth parents who refuse to submit to drug-testing.

How Can You Avoid Becoming a Victim?

If you become a victim of adoption fraud, do everything in your power to warn others so that they do not suffer the same heartache.