How to spot pregnancy scams
When you get a message from a company that promises you a baby, or when you hear someone else talk about a baby with a baby doll, or a baby who is pregnant with a doll, you can be certain you’ve been scammed.
And you can avoid paying for things like birth control, breast implants and pregnancy tests.
“If you think you’ve heard of an advertisement that is potentially pregnant, you might be thinking ‘Is this a scam?,'” says Helen Leach, an advertising and marketing professor at Rutgers University.
If you think it’s real, she says, “don’t give it to someone you don’t know.
You can’t trust someone unless they’ve been through the scam and know what they’re doing.”
Pregnancy scams are the latest marketing ploy to take advantage of women’s desperation for an affordable birth control or birth control kit.
“It is very common in the world of marketing to put a product or service that is being advertised for and sell it for $0.20 or less,” says Deborah Lasker, a professor at the University of Texas, Austin.
Pregnancy fraud is a growing concern in the United States, where the number of women who use birth control is on the rise.
Between 2006 and 2015, the number fell by more than half from 5.2 million to 2.9 million, according to the CDC.
The rise in women’s use of birth control has been blamed on a lack of access to safe, affordable contraception and rising awareness of the risks associated with the medication.
In 2015, CDC researchers reported that women were more than twice as likely as men to be asked about their pregnancies, and more than three times as likely to be told about the birth control method they use.
While some women may not be aware of their options, many do know the products they should consider.
The number of pregnancies resulting from contraceptive fraud has increased by nearly 40% in the last decade, according the National Women’s Law Center, which is part of the National Partnership for Women and Families.
“A lot of the scams are pretty basic,” says Liz Leach.
“There’s a little bit of a ploy to try to lure you in with a promise of free supplies.
There’s a lot of basic stuff.
There are a lot more basic things you can do to make sure that you’re not getting scammed.”
In the United Kingdom, the birth rate has dropped in recent years and is predicted to continue to fall, according a 2016 study by the UK government.
A 2015 survey by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service also found that one in four pregnant women had been contacted by a person who offered to arrange for their baby to be born for free.
“You get a lot fewer complaints, so it’s definitely a much more positive environment than it was when I was pregnant,” says Rebecca Haines, a 37-year-old marketing consultant who was offered a $300 gift card for a contraceptive kit at a recent fertility clinic in London.
“I was expecting it to be really painful to get, but it was really exciting because I had never done anything like that before.”
Hains says she was told she could use the gift card to pay for a “pregnancy testing kit” and the kit would be delivered at her home.
“They said I was getting a free kit, and I was like, ‘Is that true?’
They said, ‘Well, it’s free if you have one of the kits in your household,'” Hain, who is in her 20s, says.
“But I was not really sure what it was.”
Haine says she received a phone call the next day from the sales person, telling her she would need to pay the full amount for the test.
“She said it would be in a week, and that I needed to come back,” she says.
Hain was shocked.
“The first thing I thought of was, ‘This is so fucking creepy.
I’m not sure if I should come back or not.'”
Hain says she went back to her local clinic to have the test done.
“We did a test, and it was negative,” she recalls.
Haine’s husband, who had a baby when she was pregnant, also had a similar experience.
“He was in the hospital for a few days, and he was very upset because he had to come home and deal with a lot,” Hain tells The Daily Beast.
The couple had also been looking for a way to avoid paying the $300 fee for a fertility test, but she says they quickly realized that this was not going in their favor”
The only time we ever used a fake pregnancy test was for a small business meeting where I got an envelope and a box of birth certificates for $10, and she handed it to me, and then we were like, OK, we’re not going to pay that,” Haine recalls.
The couple had also been looking for a way to avoid paying the $300 fee for a fertility test, but she says they quickly realized that this was not going in their favor