Adoption Scammer Tries to Bilk Couple: Would You Intervene?

PHOTO: actors portray a pregnant teenager and an excited couple looking to adopt a babyABC
"What Would You Do?" actors portray a pregnant teenager and an excited couple looking to adopt a baby.

Pregnancy Scams in the News: As fertility decreases for women over 40, many couples turn to surrogacy and adoption. In one prominent example, over-40 actress Sarah Jessica Parker recently employed a surrogate mother to carry her twin daughters. But there are instances when adoption and surrogacy goes devastatingly awry. In the past several years, a spate of scammers have conned unassuming couples the world over. Last year, Audrey Magallon from Astoria, Ore., was arrested after collecting thousands of dollars from two couples, including one in New Zealand, who believed she was pregnant with their children. In late 2007, Jessica O'Donnell from Greenwood, S.C., was accused of bilking six couples, successfully convincing them to send her sperm and more than $14,000 in compensation. Both women later pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to their scams.

The Adoption Scammer Scenario: What would you do if you witnessed a pregnant teenager sitting with an ebullient, excited couple -- showing them her ultrasound, taking photos and, most importantly, collecting money -- and then moments later performing the same act with another couple? To find out, we set up our hidden cameras at the City Limits Diner in White Plains, N.Y. We hired actors to play our pregnant teen and eager adoptive couples. Would anyone let our potential parents-to-be know they were being scammed?

What They Said:

"The fact that you're giving us your baby to make our family...We are indebted to you forever." -- Actor playing adoptive father

"But she said she was the surrogate for these people, they just took a picture. I'm not making this up." -- Diner alerting second adoptive couple to the scam

"We have all got to take care of one another. And if something like that happens, somebody has got to say something." -- Diner on why he chose to intervene

Watch the scenario unfold on "What Would You Do?" on Friday at 9 p.m. ET