Myth 1: Scam messages are a sign your outreach isn’t working.
Scam messages are not necessarily an indicator that your outreach isn’t working. In fact, they may be a very strong indicator that your outreach is doing its job. Here’s why: typically, an adoption scammer’s online behavior will mimic that of a legitimate person who is considering adoption. They may do similar Google searches, look at similar sites, and view or contact adoptive families, as well. So, the very outreach that helps you complete your family is also the reason you are receiving so many scam queries. There is no way to prevent someone from performing these kinds of web actions, so the scammers blend right in with the legitimate users who may be seeing your outreach.
Myth 2: There are more scams related to adoption than anything else online.
The entire internet is rife with scams. Have you ever sold something on Craigslist? Or created a profile on Facebook or a dating site? If so, then you have probably received several annoying scam messages of one kind or another. Scams are an adoption problem. But scams are an internet-wide problem, as well.
Myth 3: Someone with a crazy story must be a scammer. Someone who suddenly stopped communicating must be a scammer. Someone with poor grammar must be a scammer.
Not all red flag situations are scams. We’ve heard of multiple connections that sounded as though they were suspicious, yet they turned out to be real situations. Poor etiquette on her part does not make her a scammer. Nor does poor grammar. Some women will communicate with several families before settling on the right one, and it is worth mentioning that many pregnant women are going through a stressful, life-altering experience. This is why we recommend exploring every situation fully - and with your adoption team - before making these important judgment calls. Your future family may depend on taking these extra steps.
Myth 4: It is better to post a profile on a smaller site with fewer scammers.
Remember that the presence of scammers is directly related to the amount of outreach a given site performs. And a service like Adoptimist performs a lot of outreach. The truth is scammers do not generally target unsuccessful or low-traffic websites. Instead, they frequent the most successful ones, the sites that are well known or perform the most marketing. Here’s the flipside: while more outreach may mean more scams, it also means more legitimate users and connections for our families.
Myth 5: Scammers are the only ones contacting families on Adoptimist.
Scammers are often more verbose and contact more families than our legitimate users. But in no way does their presence negate the fact that real connections are happening on Adoptimist. Legitimate users generally behave much differently than scammers. They keep a lower profile and follow/contact fewer families.
Myth 6: A scammer can always be spotted from a mile away, even without help from an adoption attorney or agency.
We’ve seen several families let a legitimate situation slip away from them because they read something on a board or made a hasty judgment call. If at all possible, keep an open mind and err on the side of caution. Keep your adoption team engaged and informed and ready to help.
Myth 7: Spam and scam are the same thing.
Many adoptive families use the term “scam” to describe every bit of non-legitimate communication they receive. But is a spam query from an orphanage in Africa on the same level as a potential birth mother in your state who can produce everything from a truly convincing story to an ultrasound image? Not at all. A skillful scammer can trick even seasoned adoption professionals. A message from Africa, annoying as it is, is probably just spam.
Tips For Dealing With Adoption Scams
Here are some useful tips that can help you navigate all the spam and scam messages you may be receiving:
- Be prepared for scams. If you are doing any kind of quality outreach, the scam messages are likely going to come. Consider them a part of the process going into it. If you are prepared and have the right mindset, you can quickly recognize, delete, and move past most of them without breaking a sweat.
- Keep your eye on your goals. Adopting is difficult. Sometimes you wonder how successful connections ever happen. Yet, they do. So, keep your eye on your goal and stay focused. If you really want it, don’t let someone with bad intentions derail your hopes for a family.
- Adoption outreach isn’t for everyone. You have been through a lot already and maybe adoption marketing just isn’t a healthy choice for you at this particular time in your life. That is okay. If so, you may find working with an agency or a consultant that manages your adoption search is the way to go. Consider all your options before giving up on your dreams.