‘Homeschool Mom Of The Year’ Scam: Don’t Fall For It!

Homeschool freedoms under attack

One of our members recently received a scam call from someone claiming to be from Focus on the Family, saying our member had been nominated for a “Homeschool Mom of the Year” award.

Instead, it turned out to be a pretext for invasive questions about her household, children, and parental techniques.

Here’s an official response from Focus on the Family:

It seems this person has been sporadically calling moms, primarily those who homeschool, for a number of years. She often states she has worked in collaboration with Focus. Apparently, she especially likes to discuss issues related to discipline, and will often say that the recipient of the call has won a prize, such as a “Homeschooling Mother of the Year” award.

As you may have surmised, this person is an imposter. This person has never been associated with Focus on the Family as far as our records show. And though the FBI has been alerted to this situation, unfortunately, the individual hasn’t been identified. Various phone numbers have been used over time, and it hasn’t been possible to locate the person making the calls.

To this point, we are unaware of any attempts by this person to seek or collect personal information for the purposes of a scam or to defraud those she calls. However, if you should receive a call which seems to have this intent, please let us know by calling 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459). And even if this is not the case, you may wish to notify authorities that you received a harassing phone call. If you receive another call from her, we’d encourage you to hang up immediately.

Homeschool freedoms at risk

This scam call also takes place at a time when some people in Kansas are calling for more government restrictions on homeschooling, based on one widely publicized child abuse case involving a so-called “homeschool” family.

See our official position on this in our blog post, “Child abuse and homeschooling: What’s going on?

If you ever receive a similar scam call, we recommend the following steps:

  • Do not give any information away. The caller may pretend to be a fellow homeschool mom and ask seemingly innocent questions. Just remember that they are probably trying to get you to say something to use against you or fellow homeschoolers.
  • Try to take notes. If the caller reveals any information during the call, try to record the conversation as much as possible. It will come in handy when you file a police report.
  • Notify HSLDA. It’s always a good idea to call the Home School Legal Defense Association with any concerns you may have.

 

We have updated this blog post, originally published in January 2018, for timeliness and detail. Blog post comments indicate that this scam may be ongoing and extends beyond the KC area into other U.S. states.

4 Comments

  1. Melanie
      January 23, 2018 at 11:27 PM

    Thank you for posting this! I personally know the woman this happened to, and she was very shaken about the whole thing. Concerns that certain key phrases such as “I agree with that” (when talking about encouraging confidence in kids) would be fraudulently spliced into the questions that the caller had about discipline, were brought up, too. Hopefully this person is caught soon!

    1.   January 25, 2018 at 11:02 AM

      We hope so too, Melanie! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Kristi
      June 30, 2018 at 3:01 PM

    I live in South Carolina and just received this phone call from a “Dr. Diane”! I was on the phone for over an hour with the person before it dawned on me to look up the “Homeschool Mom of the Year” award and see if it was legitimately associated with Focus on the Family. Thank you for putting this info out there because it helped me start to question the phone call and finally end it. I don’t feel that I gave any critical information, but with the call lasting such a long time discussing disciplinary style, house rules, etc., I’m just not sure what the purpose was. I’m leaving this comment in hopes that others will be aware before they are fooled into talking with someone who is not what they claim to be!

    1. Shanxi Omoniyi
        July 3, 2018 at 10:42 AM

      Thanks so much for sharing, Kristi! If you haven’t already reported the call, like we mentioned in the article, it may be worth it to help keep authorities aware the scammers are still active.

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