A routine morning for an Indiana woman was altered by a phone call from Child Protective Services to inform her they were investigating a report of child abuse. Later in the day, two fake CPS women appeared at her door claiming to be from CPS. The presented what they claimed was a court order granting them access to the house and giving them the authority to remove any child(ren) that were were in need of protective custody.
The problem – they were not actual Child Protective Services agents. Or even any form of official government agency representatives. While in the home, the took pictures of the woman’s infant son and did other inspections of the house.
This was a fraudulent act and the local police are investigating.
The woman could have been attempting to kidnap a child or casing the house for future robbery. The woman herself was also obviously in danger the minute she opened her door.
The are several steps you can undertake to protect yourself, your home and most importantly – your children in a situation like this.
- One make sure you check for official IDs – these women were not wearing any. This can also be faked with almost any computer and printer, so do not rely on this solely
- Make sure to carefully read the ‘court’ order. Again this can be faked by someone knowledgeable and make sure you demand a copy for yourself. If they refuse to allow you or someone else to read it or say that they can not give you a copy – that should be a warning sign.
- If you receive such a phone call before the visit, call the CPS back at their published telephone number and ask for a supervisor. They may not tell you that you are the subject of an investigation, but you are raising the alert to possible fraud if you are not.
- Have, if at all possible, a friend or relative there with you when you allow people in your home. A extra witness could deter the fraudsters.
- Make note of the vehicle license, description and other information of anyone representing them self as an official representative. Most such employees drive either clearly marked vehicles or new model ones. If the fraudsters are in a older, beat up and worn car – be very concerned. And if they have ill gotten gains in mind, the last thing they will want is for someone to know what they are driving
- Call the police. While this is listed last – it is recommended that you do it first. Since this is a first visit by CPS, you will want and deserve to have the police there to supervise the entire situation. Many times, the police will show up with CPS during initial encounters anyway to handle unruly parents. However, they can also deal with inappropriate Child Protective Services agents also. And, of course, if these ‘agents’ are not on the up and up, they are not going to hang around if they see a cop in the area. If you are forced to open the door – call 911 and request immediate assistance.
So far nothing has happened after this visit from these Fake CPS workers to this woman and her children – but that is not to say that they are out of the woods yet.
Every day – crooks, criminals and fraudsters are looking for new ways to take from you what is rightfully yours. Never let down you guard and never assume that just because someone claims to be an official representative that they actually are.