Kentucky couple falls victim to fake adoption scam

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WKYT) - A warning for couples wanting to adopt a baby. There is a scam going on that can emotionally wrap couples up in heartbreaking lies. The end result for most couples who are scammed: they are left with no baby, lost money and emotional scaring.

Rob Ginter is a pastor in Georgetown. He and his wife always wanted to adopt. Most people in their circle knew that, so when a friend found an opportunity for the Ginters to adopt a newborn, the friend immediately reached out to the couple.

"So we get approached at the beginning saying this girl, she's 18 years old, and she's got some kind of blood disorder. So she's got to have an abortion out of state in Washington, D.C. She's getting on a plane at 1:00 today and she is going to have an abortion there unless we can find a family to take the child."

The Ginters immediately said, "We'll take the baby."

Ginter sat down with WKYT's Miranda Combs at his church to explain the scam. "At first, the emotion of the story kind of took over so we were like, 'We have to help this girl and we want to.' But it seemed odd at first that she wasn't taking the we're offering."

The Ginters offered hotel rooms and food and family. She didn't want any of it, and she only revealed her first name as 'Amber.' The Ginters chalked most of that up to immaturity, and after a week or so she started opening up a little more, told the couple her father was a pastor, just like Ginter. "We began to talk to her, let her know things about us, texted pictures of us. She texted us a picture back of her."

The Ginters were even looking for homes for the girl in Georgetown, when they got another surprise. He said, "She was in the hospital. We didn't know which hospital because of complications with her pregnancy. Upon her hospital visit, they found two heartbeats."

At that point, they were very skeptical. The whole family was. They searched the internet to try to find the girl. Ginter's sister was able to connect the woman's phone number to a Snapchat account. That's how they found out it was all a scam.

Ginter contacted the FBI. The FBI said the best thing to do is to have other victims of the scam to come forward.

"So it turns out that they target these people," said Ginter "And they even have people meet them at the hospital and then they are in the hospital searching for patients that don't exist."

"What good came out of this?" Combs asked.

"The good that came out of this is [finding out] that these [scammers] actually exist," Ginter replied. "The biggest collateral damage is emotional damage."

The Ginters have moved on and now are fostering two young children they hope to adopt. Life is good for them. But they'll never forget about that life that didn't exist.

The National Council for Adoption says to avoid becoming a victim of a similar scam, first, you should trust your gut: if something doesn't feel right, as hard as it can be, just walk away.

If you do move forward with the adoption, make sure you have "real" proof of pregnancy, like a doctor's note.

Finally, either give very little cash, or none at all, to potential birth families.

If you or someone you know have been part of an adoption scam, you're encouraged to contact the FBI.

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