Please tell me people are not so <searching for the word......> uh.... IGNORANT as to fall for the following adoption scam:
Some of the most popular scams involve the adoption of children or animals over the internet. The perpetrators of child adoption fraud often claim to be indigent parents unable to care for a child or members of the clergy working at a Cameroonian orphanage seeking a good home for a child. Other versions of this fraud involve wildlife, including birds (often parrots), dogs (Yorkshire terriers and bulldog puppies are frequently offered), and monkeys. The scammers will begin a relationship with the victim by offering the fictitious child or animal for free, asking the victim to pay only a small amount to cover the cost of shipping. This will be followed by a never-ending string of additional requests, this time for more money due to ‘unforeseen expenses’, such as court costs, airport fees, customs duties, and medical costs. The scammers will claim that the fictitious baby or animal will be abandoned at the airport unless they are unable to pay a non-existent fee, and the victim will be threatened with the loss of thousands of dollars.
Americans should be very cautious about sending money or traveling to Cameroon to adopt a child from an orphanage they have only heard about through e-mails. The competent authorities for inter-country adoption are the Ministry of Social Affairs and the High Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) that has jurisdiction over the place of residence of the child to be adopted. Cameroon does not have adoption agencies. In general, any orphanage may release an orphan for adoption. However, in order to help protect themselves and the children from the possibility of fraud or other serious problems, prospective adoptive parents are advised to consider first the list of accredited orphanages available at the Ministry of Social Affairs. Should prospective adoptive parents wish to hire a Cameroonian attorney to assist with the adoption, they can obtain a list of attorneys from the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé.
A new twist in the conventional e-mail adoption scam has appeared recently, and this one occurs after the victim discovers that he or she has been fooled by a scam. Once the victim suspects fraud and breaks off communications with the scammers, a new e-mail message will arrive claiming to be from the Cameroonian FBI or some such police agency. These fictitious policemen will offer to recover the victim’s lost money. The scammers will then ask for a “refundable” fee to open the investigation or court files. No such police agency exists in Cameroon.
The U.S. Embassy notes there are strict legal regulations surrounding endangered species and the importation of any wildlife into the United States. Any attempt to purchase wildlife through the internet should be avoided. [From: "Feymania: How to Avoid Cameroonian Scams", May 24, 2009, http://www.cameroononline.org/2009/05/24/how-to-avoid-cameroonian-scams/ ]
BTW... I especially like the suggestion that children are likened to "wildlife"!