Sunday, October 2, 2011

Social Network scammers

First of all I do not want to come across judgmental and would like to say that I have been in the shoes of those who I am about to write about. Therefore, I do "get" what you are going through, where you are at, and how you are feeling.  Maybe writing this will be good for me, because we are at the end of building our family and I don't have to live in those feelings anymore. Sometimes one forgets the "pain" but it is not good to forget that it was painful.

When we were scammed, the person who said she was pregnant was very, very dramatic. One phone call was "I am bleeding", "I think I am loosing the baby" and yet another was "I just wanted you to know that I called 911 and am on the way to the hospital". That was super bowl Sunday, I will never forget it.  That night I received an email from "her friend" and it said the baby died.  In the end, through all my investigating, I found out there never was a baby. How do you tell your dd who was looking forward to a little brother that there will be no little brother???  How do you explain to her about this person who has a broken heart and wants others to feel her pain? How do you get past the feeling that you failed to protect your family and yourself from such a creepy person?  Why did I let myself get so caught up in her drama and allow my family to be pulled in?  Still makes me mad just thinking about what I allowed this sick individual do to us. Where was my "good sense"? And looking back on it, I sometimes think "Dear God Lynne what were you thinking????" Did you REALLY think it was smart to meet someone on the net, talk over the phone, share yourself and your life with her?

Why didn't I pick up the red flags,,,or maybe what I need to ask  is why did I ignored the red flags, my theory, like many others is  because she told me everything I wanted to hear.  She had the ability to turn the red flags into pink ones. What they say is "A con is a con because they are good at being a con" She did her job well.

While investigating scam in adoption over the years I have heard many stories such as ours. Some scammers don't go into a lot of drama, while others will play you to no end.  One such case that comes to mind is Belinda Ramirez from Texas. She had the family fly from NY to TX stating she was in labor, then gave birth, all the while not allowing them to meet her. She did it all over the cell phone.  Even when the couple were seeing red flags and warning their attorney's about them, they were told to move forward and keep working with Belinda.  At one point Belinda had the couple standing at the nursery window while she was on the phone with them, and telling them to look at the baby girl with the pink hat on, that is your little girl.  The truth was, Belinda was not pregnant, but was in the hospital for other medical issues...ya I know you would think mental,,right? In this case, this scammer was using a fake name, fake pics, fake ultrasound,,but was eventually caught, prosecuted, sentenced, let out, scammed again, then was convicted again and has to serve out orginal sentence.  I will never forget listening to the prospective adoptive mom tell me what was going on and all they had been through,,I had the hardest time understanding how someone could do this a human being and how come this family had protection of, not one, but two attorneys, and no one was able to stop this sick person from scamming this family and others.

Another way these cons are pulling off scams is using the social network sites.  On Facebook, for instance, the sad individual will set up a page stating she is looking for an adoptive family for her yet to be born baby.  She facebooks friends,,,, all these couple looking to adopt and then she post things such as "I am not wanting to go through an agency because they are taking to much of your money" or "thank you for being my friend and being patient while I ask you all questions"  She will literally set up a time line on how she will go about picking a family.  All the while pitting pap's against each other,,sometimes saying things like "you wouldn't believe how some of the people on here are offering me money to adopt my baby"..........PEOPLE ,,what you will find out in the end is either the baby died, she decided to keep and thank you all for being so nice to me, or her family member is adopting.  And with in the week,,,low and behold another expectant mom has set up a new FB page and you are invited.  The internet is an easy place for them to get pictures of people, ultrasounds, quilts they say they made, etc.........All the way through their con, you will not get to meet them in person, have the ability to verify their pregnancy, get them to sign paperwork, send in paperwork, meet with an attorney.

These are the hardest con artist to understand,,all they are getting out of it is your attention,,,how sick is that??    They are playing with a persons emotions and for some reason we allow it to be done to our self in the hopes that in the end there will be a baby.  BTW there are some people in the adoption world who do not understand why we would let ourselves get pulled into someone sick games,,or they say "that is what you get for thinking you can take another persons baby and call yourself mommy" ,they think we deserve it...,I just say to them,,,,,,,,count yourself lucky that you are not walking in those shoes.

Message I hope all of you pap's take away from this post is "Listen to your gut feelings", "if it is too good to be true, walk away" and "don't waste your time with those gals who stay behind a cell phone, or computer".

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