Thursday, August 14, 2008

Uptown Scam Alert: Baby Wellness Check

From BPN and the wife of "Uptown Rising:"

I was at Buena Park Playlot with my baby daughter at approx. 11:15 this morning. Walked home, was home for about 30-40 min and my buzzer rang. A woman said she was from the "US Dept of Health" and was here for a "Baby Wellness Check." I inquired why I had not received any prior notification, and she said they "send letters and call." I asked if she had any other information and I believe she said my last name (which she could have gotten from the buzzer). I told her that I was not comfortable with letting her in and she said "this neighborhood is really hard to park in and didn't want to have to come back". I said sorry and wouldn't let her in. It all seemed very shady...

I called several friends with babies and no one has heard of "Baby Wellness Checks". I called the IL Dept of Health and they have never heard of this practice. I called the Chicago Dept of Health and they too said they do not randomly do this practice. I was transferred to 3-1-1 then transferred to the police. If they come back I will call the police again.

If anyone has more information regarding the situation above, please post. If this is legit, I apologize for my cautious nature. It was just very strange and I want all parents in the neighborhood to be aware of the situation. Again, the police are notified...


  1. Man that baby is pissed!

  2. Thanks so much for your post that is good information to have. Sometimes it feels like we have to be so suspicious of people you don’t know in the city but as it turns out being suspicious can be a very necessary defense.

    In my experience anyone coming to do a “Baby wellness check” would have a police officer with him or her to gain access to a residence immediately. A baby wellness check is to determine if a baby is safe because some allegation of mistreatment has been made. These people do not leave until they have the info they need, which is why the local police are almost always present. This is a good reminder that there a lot of people who will use just about anything they can find to gain access into a person’s life.

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  4. Most likely just wanted into the place to steal stuff. Although you never know.

    Seems to me we need to "flyer" the parks for this scam.

    My suggestion if you have a double gate thing at your building is to buzz them into the front gate, stall, call the cops, then buzz them into the foyer possibly. Let the po po sort it out.

  5. This works.

    "Baby Wellness Check." - sidewalk visitor

    "Hi. Please look up and to your left. Now smile." - You

    It won't matter if you have a camera or not.

  6. My god you needed to even think if it was legit or not.

    Of course it wasn't legit. Even DCSF officials have badges.

  7. Number 1, that picture is hilarious. Gave me a good laugh!

    Number 2, that's freakin' scary. I can imagine a lot of things of what she was intending. Good thing Mrs. Uptown Rising didn't let her in. I've personally never heard of a "baby wellness check" and it sounds like a load of crap to me but I'll defer to the resident vegetarian on it.

    Me, personally, I don't care what agency you're with, no way you're getting into my house.

  8. Yeah, sounds like they were casing your place for a return trip (if the woman was there by herself). Gain access, see where everything is, then come back and go right to the good stuff and be out in a flash.

    Good for you for not doing what so many people do, that is, cave in to "authority" immediately.

  9. I'm sure she was just trying to make sure you were wrapping your child's head in tin foil and teaching your baby that all squirrels actually work for the government. Also, never wear blue socks while breastfeeding--bad mojo.

  10. Actually, during the 1970's I worked for a visiting-nurse association in Joliet that DID unannounced "baby wellness checks," usually within the first couple weeks of birth to make sure baby and family were doing fine. However, the parents were advised of this while they were still in the hospital and told what to look for (ID's etc.) when the visitor arrived. I don't know if this is still done in Joliet. The idea was to do early intervention, if necessary, if either mom or baby were showing signs of, respectively, depression or failure to thrive.

  11. Mrs Uptown Rising here...

    Thank you to UU for posting the situation. I posted to BPN and Northside Parents Network boards today to see if I was being extra-cautious or if this was legit. All responses are pointing to scam.

    A response on NPN board mentioned that IL Dept of Health will schedule Baby Wellness checks if the baby had complications in the hospital. These are scheduled prior and are only necessary if there was an issue in the hospital. Thankfully, our baby is healthy and no one contacted us AT ALL prior (letter/phone) until the buzzer this afternoon.

    The strangest part was that she said she was from the "U.S. Dept of Health" which is just weird...

    Keep your eyes/ears open. Call the police if you witness or hear of any similar information. If I receive any followup I will post it.

    No, that is not a photo of our baby above. Thanks for the much needed laugh, that's hilarious.

  12. The woman had certainly watched you going in the door with your baby, and when she came back later, she rang every buzzer in the building until you answered.

    Best rule of thumb: NEVER let someone in you're not expecting, no matter who they say they are, especially during the day when most of your neighbors are probably not at home. This applies whether you're male or female, whether you live in Uptown, Palatine, or east Bumble.

    Glad you listened to your gut, Mrs. UR.

  13. Baby wellness checks are done by the WIC department.If you do not have WIC then it needs attention but,they do send people out to make sure that you are using their assistance correctly.

  14. Nope, no WIC here.

    Worst case: baby stealing or human trafficking gang actually interested in stealing our baby.

    My guess: someone followed my wife home from the Buena Playlot and wanted to rob us.

    Either way, this is spooky.

  15. I never buzz anyone in I don't know, not even food delivery. Food, UPS, I don't care, I always go to the front door myself. Of curse, I have a discrete camera set up so I can see who is at the buzzer on my comp.

    Sometimes I bring my sword with me just to see the look on the UPS guys face. lol, just kidding, except I totally have a sword.

  16. "Yeah, sounds like they were casing your place for a return trip (if the woman was there by herself). Gain access, see where everything is, then come back and go right to the good stuff and be out in a flash."

    Or possibly a couple of men come in with her.... be careful. I don't want to sound paranoid but I knew someone who was a victim of a home invasion, thankfully they weren't physically hurt.

  17. Thanks to other posters for clarifying the situation in Chicago for "well baby checks." I suppose because it's such a big city it would not be feasible to check up virtually EVERY newborn baby like they did (do?) in Joliet. I suppose there are pluses and minuses to either approach.

  18. Wow... Uptown is FULL of some creative law breakers isn't it? Imagine if they actually put those cunning brains for good instead of evil?

    We've had women parading as meter-readers, or maintenance breaking into senior citizens homes, robbing them blind, hooked up drug entrepeneurs who can alert each other when the police are coming, long before they show up... and now kidnappers who use 'baby wellness checks' to get access.

    Yes, it does sound to me like the mother was being watched, and was followed home. Pretty scary.

  19. Of course, this can be seen as a variation of a fairly common crime that took place in maternity wards before state-of-the-art security technology was installed. A trespasser would pose as a "nurse" who had to take the baby from mom for an "examination" - never to be returned until the cops were notified.