A Michigan couple who used social media to find a baby to be adopted said they were scammed and & # 39; emotional extortion & # 39; undergone by someone posing as a 16-year-old pregnant girl.
Samantha and Dave Stewart became the target of a scammer in February after conducting their adoption research online in the hope that a pregnant woman who was not planning to keep her baby would see their messages.
The couple, who have been married for eight years, decided to adopt their own children after Samantha had a 27-year hysterectomy due to her ongoing struggle with endometriosis.
The Stewarts had regularly posted on Instagram for three months about their intention to adopt before they received a message from someone claiming to give up her baby.
She said her name was Ashley, she was 16, and she lived near Atlanta, Georgia.
Samantha and Dave Stewart from Michigan say they were the target of a scammer when they tried to find a baby to adopt on social media
What followed was weeks of constant contact via message and telephone before they realized that the woman's promise to adopt her baby was just a devastating scam.
Their horror ordeal was first reported by the BBC Last week and a press investigation revealed that a scammer had stolen the identity of an unknown 22-year-old pregnant woman named Ashley King.
The scammer – whose real name is called Gabby – knew where the young woman lived, the hospital where her baby was eventually born, and had even sent photos of the newborn to the Stewarts.
When they went to Instagram in March, the Stewarts revealed that they had been duped into an & # 39; emotional adoption scam & # 39; who they & # 39; emotional extortion & # 39; called.
& # 39; They don't ask for money, they don't ask for material things like a lot of scams. They want your time, emotional investments and frankly someone to talk to while they promise you what you want to find desperate. Your future child, & the couple said.
& # 39; These people are bored, mentally ill and or very immature. Be careful, vigilant, and as soon as the excuses start to go through your desk or lawyer, you end the communication. & # 39;
The Stewarts had regularly posted on Instagram for three months about their intention to adopt before they received a message from someone claiming to give up her baby. The woman who contacted them had stolen the identity of a 22-year-old pregnant woman in Georgia, Ashley King (left)
Despite their previous heartbreak, the Stewarts went on with another expectant woman and have since adopted their baby boy Parker
The couple went online in November last year to look for adoption in the hope that a pregnant woman who did not intend to keep her baby would see their position. Pictured is their first post looking for a baby to adopt
After the couple shared their adoption scam on social media, it soon became apparent that several couples in the US were also being misled by the same scammer who was posing as Ashley.
& # 39; The woman had many people who thought they would adopt my daughter, & # 39; told the real Ashley, who lives in Georgia, to the BBC.
& # 39; It really is a scary thought. Why would anyone do that? & # 39;
Several other potential adoptive parents were also contacted by other pseudonyms, but they are all supposed to be linked back to the same woman named Gabby.
Those fake Instagram accounts have now all been deleted.
The real Ashley said she received a series of bizarre messages from a woman named Gabby shortly after her daughter was born.
In the messages, Gabby congratulated her on the birth, asked to see a picture of Ashley and her daughter, and bizarrely asked her to send a recording of her voice.
They say they choose to speak publicly about the adoption of social media in an effort to warn other adoptive parents. Samantha is pictured above on Good morning America on Tuesday
Samantha and Dave have since said that their son Parker is the & # 39; best that happened to us & # 39;
Ashley did not respond to many of the messages. She said her husband knew Gabby for a short time when they were younger.
She said she had forgotten the messages and only realized how much Gabby had actually sent after she was told that her identity had been stolen.
& # 39; When I went through it, I thought: & # 39; Oh my goodness, I should have seen this a long time ago, when it first started to happen & # 39 ;, said Ashley.
& # 39; I was very angry with myself. How could I not have caught it sooner? & # 39;
Despite their earlier heartbreak, the Stewarts continued with another expectant woman and have since adopted their baby boy Parker.
They say they choose to speak publicly about the adoption of social media in an effort to warn other adoptive parents.
In an interview on Good Morning America on Tuesday, Samantha and Dave said their son Parker is the best thing that happened to us.
& # 39; We are very lucky, the story of many people does not end like this, & # 39; said Samantha.
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