If you are searching for a family member separated from you by relinquishment and adoption be sure and include this information in the subject line of your posting AND in your message:
…gender of adoptee
…date of birth of adoptee
…city and state of birth of adoptee
It’s best not to include additional facts from your non-id information. If there is a match based on the above information you want to be able to confirm additional information with the person who has contacted you but does not have the right information unless it is an actual match. This helps to keep a distance between you and scammers who might possibly claim to be your relative or claim to have found your relative based on information that you posted.
To avoid scammers contacting you on ANY of the adoption search related websites on the internet:
It is best if you DO NOT POST YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS in the body of the message. Also, set the options in your profile to only accept a Private Message so that the person contacting you must go through the forum board to contact you without obtaining your email address. A genuine volunteer will post information to the public message board. If you need help changing the options in your profile contact me and I will assist you.
If you are helping other people search it is wise to never post addresses and phone numbers, social security numbers or driver’s license information of possible relatives. Posting this type of information involves invasive privacy issues and angers the person whose information is being posted without their authorization.
If you contact a search firm to do your search or if a search firm contacts you wanting to charge a search fee there are several very important considerations to request when hiring a search firm:
…a reputable search firm should ALWAYS offer you a contact which you and the firm BOTH sign guaranteeing that you do not pay for a search that does not locate a member of your biological family. If any partial payment as a deposit is requested to begin the search, it must be returned upon demand if you decide that the search is not progressing within a reasonable time period (3-6 months). Do not pay for the search in full before the search starts.
…make sure that the firm’s definition of “find” is not a LIST of people with a similar name and/or comparable age. The only true find is YOUR biological relative …not similar people that you probably are not even related to.
…ask for references and actually contact them!