ROCKWOOD, Tenn. (WATE) — A disabled Roane County woman lost more than a thousand dollars to a reborn doll scam.

Reborn dolls have been around for decades and remain popular, but when the sale of newborn dolls hit the internet market, scammers saw their opening to take advantage of unsuspecting customers.

In a little corner of her apartment, Aleia spends quiet time with Addallee, a silicone-reborn baby, who provides comfort. She is disabled, lives on a fixed income and rarely leaves her home.

“My mom told me to get a hobby,” said Aleia, who chose not the share her last name. “I can’t have my own kids. So, I thought, this is the next best thing.”

Searching for a more life-like reborn baby, Aleia found a full-bodied doll on Facebook Marketplace.

“Altogether the baby was going to be $270,” said Aleia. “Well, the first baby I bought was $400. So, I thought that was a very good deal.”

But the doll turned out to be a bad deal as new charges were added. Receiving only messages from the seller, Aleia sent money through Cash App.

“It said that I had to get insurance for the doll,” said Aleia. “It was going to be $199.”

They wanted even more money after that Aleia explained.

“$150 for customs stamps. I was thinking, it’s coming from California, why do I need customs stamps? But I’m thinking, if I send the money they said it will be delivered in 30 minutes. And, all this money will be refunded,” said Aleia.

However, she continued to receive messages wanting more money. She was even told the doll was on a truck in Knoxville.

“They wanted me to send $140 more yesterday. I told them, ‘No,'” said Aleia. “I was done. I didn’t want it, I wasn’t going to send them any more money.”

It was two years ago when Aisha Moore told us about a reborn baby doll she had found on the internet. Moore, a daycare worker, had seen ads about life-like dolls before. She just wanted to share the doll with her niece when she visited. But when the doll arrived in March of 2021, it was not as pliable or soft as advertised.

“So, I thought I would order a doll that looked real, very much real. They’re supposed to look like real life-like babies. And, that wasn’t what I got,” said Moore.

She added that the doll looked like a plastic baby that came from the Dollar Store.

Here are some warning signs:

  • There is no such thing as a cheap full-body silicone reborn;
  • Full-body silicone babies can range in price from $500-$2000. If you see one cheaper, it’s a scam;
  • Real artists will have lots of pictures on many social media accounts including the doll’s nursery name and the artist’s name.

Aleia is not the only one to fall for this scam. The real artists of these dolls say to protect your pocketbook and do your research if you see an ad popping up. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The artists say most reborn artists will not have the money to place ads on Instagram and Facebook or retarget you on Google. Since it is an art form, the artists say they do not have the volume of inventory readily available to go to justify such an expense.