FBI Warns the Public About Domestic Adoption Fraud Schemes
Whether you are a birth mother or a prospective adoptive family, the adoption process can be filled with uncertainty. FBI Detroit wants to help anyone involved in the adoption process spot potential fraud schemes and to encourage anyone who believes they may be involved in a fraudulent adoption scheme to report it to the FBI.
Adoption fraud refers to any form of intentional misrepresentation or illegal act in the area of adoption. Any participant involved in an adoption—birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, and adoption service providers—are all capable of fraud.
The FBI wants everyone involved in the adoption process to be aware of a few common adoption fraud schemes:
- Double matching occurs when a birth mother’s baby is matched to more than one prospective adoptive parent.
- Fabricated matching occurs when prospective adoptive parents are matched to a fictitious birth mother, a birth mother who is not pregnant, or a birth mother who is not genuinely interested in placing her baby for adoption.
- Fee-related schemes include adoption service providers requiring prospective adoptive parents to pay exorbitant fees upfront or on a recurring basis but failing to provide services promised.
Fraudulent adoption service providers may:
- Misrepresent professional licenses or education
- Make unsolicited contact to sign up birth mother or prospective adoptive parents
- Be difficult to reach via phone or email, despite multiple attempts
- Unnecessarily control communications between adoption participants
- Quote highly negotiable and inconsistent fees
- Encourage prospective adoptive parents to pay expenses immediately to avoid losing out on opportunity to adopt
- Demonstrate a pattern of requesting additional unexpected fees throughout the process
- Make guarantees about the adoption process, such as:
- Matching within a specific time frame
- Birth parents’ willingness to adopt
- How quickly and easily the adoption will be legally finalized.
Fraudulent adoption service providers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and to lure birth parents and/or prospective adoptive parents into immediate action. Resist the pressure to act quickly.
If you believe you have been victimized by an adoption fraud scheme or believe you may be working with a fraudulent adoption service provider, report it to FBI Detroit at 313-965-2323, call 1-800-CALL-FBI, or submit tips online at tips.fbi.gov. A report can also be filed with the Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3) at ic3.gov.
Visit detroit.fbi.gov or fbi.gov/adoptionfraud to get more information about adoption fraud.
If you would like adoption fraud brochures for distribution, please contact SA Mara Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org.