We all know about the omnipresent spam email “I’m a Nigerian Prince. I need $3,000. Please wire it into this bank account.” Yes, that one — the message we all wonder who the heck would ever fall for.
Well an equivalent one exists in the open adoption world. Here’s a snippet of one I got this month from the man I like to think of as the “Nigerian Prince” of Adoption:
From: Bent Colins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Beautiful Baby Seeking Good Family
Right off the bat, there were enough red flags to make me run for the hills. First of all, “Bent” sounds like a man’s name. Not that men don’t inquire about adoption plans. But it’s no secret that contact is typically initiated by the prospective mother. Not quite a deal-breaker yet, though.
Reading the subject line, I was impressed that this baby was so advanced that he/she could proactively seek out adoptive parents. Part of me was surprised that it didn’t read “Beautiful Baby Who Likes Long Walks on the Beach Seeks (fill in here)…”
Here’s the rest:
I wish to let you know that i have a beatiful baby that will make your family happy forever. It is hard but i have to take it. I will be happy if you reply me with details of your information and the type of baby you like.
Note: I did not reply because I didn’t want to tip off the scammer that my email was actually valid so he could sell it to other spammers. However, if I had responded, this would have been my reply:
Dear Bent (a.k.a. waiting),
First, I want to apologize for any trauma you experienced on the playground for the name “Bent.” I can only imagine the bad jokes you’ve had to endure. As to the type of baby I like, well I like the little kind. The ones that haven’t yet learned to talk or spell “beautiful” incorrectly. Also I’m confused by your email. Are you pregnant with one child or are you a walking nursery where I can select my “type” like fruit at the grocery store? And by the way, you must be slipping: you forgot to ask me for my social security number.
Also Waiting…and Waiting and Waiting and Waiting and Waiting
A side tip: one way to avoid spammers is to spell out your entire email address. For example, “leah at website name dot com” rather than “email@example.com.” In this way, people will still be able to understand your address, but not the automated programs used by spammers.
Have you ever encountered the “Nigerian Prince” of adoption or other open adoption scammers? What tips do you have for other hopeful adoptive parents? Share your comments in the space below.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of “The Three Adoption Scams of Christmas” tomorrow. And don’t forget to check out our website’s new adoption scam forum.
Leah B. and her husband, Jeff, live in Chicago, IL and have been together for seven years. Leah is a former professional comedienne who turned in her mic for a family-friendly internet marketing job. Jeff writes a humor blog for the Chicago Tribune and will become a stay-at-home dad upon the adoption of a child. They are working with the Cradle adoption agency.
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