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Adoption Scams: More Hopeful Couples Are Being Conned

The Short of It

Although there are no statistics on how many families are duped each year, according to NBC News, adoption scams are on the rise.

The Lowdown

NBC conducted a hidden-camera investigation to uncover the sickening world of adoption scams. Producers were able to catch a would-be scammer on tape, and it's hard to watch what happens next.

The scam plays out like this: A couple lie and say they are expecting a baby and attempt to extort thousands of dollars in living expenses from hopeful adoptive parents.

But now, the duplicitous couple is about to get duped themselves. The would-be parents in this investigation are actually NBC producers. They ask the couple, who claim to want to give their baby up for adoption, a series of questions.

Then, when the "pregnant" woman is confronted on camera, she hurries to leave with her bump, which is probably just a pillow, judging from the way she adjusts it unnaturally.

And, it turns out this woman is a serial scammer named Heather Burgess, who has conned other couples looking to adopt out of thousands of dollars. One such couple is behind the camera, watching this particular fake exchange unfold. It's heartbreaking to think they believed they were actually getting a baby.

The Upshot

Sheila Davis, an adoption official interviewed by NBC, offers these tips for prospective adoptive parents:

  • Never send money to a birth mother directly.
  • Be suspicious of someone who does not want to deal with an adoption professional.

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