For years now the scam “artists” have been targeting the online nanny job sites and free venues like Craigslist. Some of their attempts are almost comical yet, we find people are still falling for their lies. Here is some important information on how they work and how to avoid getting scammed.
How the Scams Operate: Basically, the scammer will offer you a job and send you a check in advance. Sometimes they say it is to secure your services, other times they will tell you they need your help in buying furniture for their new house or toys for their children. The check they sand is a fake. They will ask you to wire transfer money either because they suddenly had a change of plans and can’t hire you or they want you to send a wire transfer to the furniture sales person or toy store. So, you are sending your real money to the scammer while you wait in vain for their fake check to clear.
First thing to remember, avoid employers from outside the US. All of these scams involve an employer who is transferring or visiting from another country. This should be your first red flag.
Second, a legitimate employer is not going to send a perfect stranger a check for anything. In almost every case that has been reported to us, the nanny has never actually spoken with the “employer.” A legitimate employer will want to interview you, run reference checks and background checks. They are not going to be asking the nanny to help them buy furniture or toys or anything for that matter.
Third, do not send someone you have never spoken to your address, driver’s license number or social security number. If a family wants to run a background check, you will be given paperwork to sign. Do not hand over personal information via email.
Fourth, always Google the employers name and email address. We post all scam alerts that are reported to us. If you have a scammer on the line, chances are we have him posted here. If not and you are still questioning the legitimacy of the offer, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take a look.
Fifth, read through some of the scam emails that have been reported here. You will find they all have a certain similar sound to them. Most contain broken English and use words we do not normally use here in the US.
If you have been contacted by a scammer, do not reply. Even if you have been conversing via email, simply stop writing back. You can report them to the FBI but very little can be done. These individuals rely on the anonymity of the internet, third party email providers and are usually located in foreign countries. I have yet to hear of any that have been caught and prosecuted.