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 Internet adoption scams

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

From todays local paper

Thursday August 9 2007

Windsor police crack down on adoption webscam

Chris Thompson
Windsor Star


Thursday, August 09, 2007


An apparent internet scam offering a little girl to people eager to adopt a child has appeared on the Windsor section of a classified ad website.

Windsor police began investigating on Tuesday afternoon after a tip about the posting on the Windsor section of www.kijiji.ca -- a site where people buy and sell various goods, from used appliances to cars and clothing -- came in to Crime Stoppers.

The posting was titled: "I wish to give costudy (sic) of this child to any happy family."

The posting shows several pictures of a cute little girl who appears to be of Asian descent.

A message on the posting reads: "I was never married but had one little girl named Ashley. I have been able to take care of her since she was born and now I want to give costudy (sic) to any other happy family due to something that I will only tell anybody who shows interest."

Windsor police Staff Sgt. Ed McNorton said police wanted to determine whether the posting was put there by someone in Windsor and an officer with the investigative analysis unit initiated an e-mail dialogue, using a non-police e-mail account.

"It sounds like you and Ashley have had an interesting life," the detective wrote.

"Her pictures are beautiful. My husband and I are still very interested in meeting you and Ashley. We have some money set aside to go through the adoption process.

"We would be willing to travel to meet with you if that would speed things up."

Police received an e-mail response within 15 minutes of the initial contact.

"Well I really like that to happen sooner than later," the respondent, identified in the e-mail as Mark Ignatius, wrote.

"Please do give me a call at 0023777318605 so that we can talk about this. I will not want you to spend much money going through an international adoption but rather I will just sign the papers to give you custody and when you finally have the child in Canada, you can then adopt her there. I know by then I will be history. So I will also need your full address including phone numbers so that my lawyer can start with the paper works."

The communication continued and police determined the writer was located in the African nation of Cameroon. The writer claimed to be involved in a "very sensitive situation."

Police contacted the website operators via e-mail with a police e-mail address and the posting quickly disappeared.

Communication with the poster then stopped, but police believe he would eventually have made a demand for an amount of cash.

"His last message said that he had talked to his lawyer about the paperwork and it appeared to be leading up to it (asking for money)," said McNorton.

Windsor police have since learned that similar complaints about postings on different parts of www.kijiji.ca have been reported to police in Hamilton, Niagara, Waterloo, Peterborough and jurisdictions handled by the OPP in recent days.

"There are a lot of people out there that want to adopt children," said McNorton.

"We just want to make people aware that this scam is out there and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Obviously it's a scam and people should be aware of it."

Police do not have any reports of people handing over money yet.

Toronto police fraud squad Det. Gary Brennan said they received a call about a similar posting on the Toronto section of the site recently but the complainant had contacted the website before notifying police and the posting was removed before police could find it.

Toronto-based internet expert Rick Broadhead said there are many scams operating on the internet but this one is new to him.

"Scams are a dime a dozen on the internet," said Broadhead.

"I would suspect that there is no child and this is just a scam. I suspect this is not an isolated incident."

Broadhead said people just need to use common sense when it comes to claims and offers made on the internet.

"You would assume that any astute person wouldn't send any money," said Broadhead.

"On the other hand I have seen many scams that seem obvious, but people still get duped."

The Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society have also received complaints about the posting.

The Star's e-mail request for comment from www.kijiji.ca was not responded to.

A woman who answered the phone at the Adoption Council of Ontario declined comment and said nobody else was available.

The Windsor Star 2007



Copyright 2007 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

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