Happy couple with young child, hopefully not victims of adoption scamFederal officials are warning couples seeking to adopt that there's a new adoption scam aimed at fleecing money out of would-be parents.

The scam artists respond to online ads from couples interested in adoption or those who respond to ads titled "Baby Needs a Home." They tell the interested parents that they have an overseas orphaned child and that they "promised to care for the child after the mother's death."Sometimes they send a picture and a "copy" of the baby's birth certificate, the release read.

In return, they collect personal information such as Social Security numbers, credit card information and their mother's maiden name, and ask families to fill out forms and send pictures.

"Fraudsters told victims to send hundreds of dollars via money order, credit card, or wire transfer to a bank account for legal fees the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported. "The fraudsters claimed they would "ship" the child upon receipt of the funds."

Instead, couples lost their money and never saw the child they were promised. The FBI has several similar stories and warns parents to go through accredited adoption agencies and to check with the Department of State for information on international adoptions.

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