If you’re looking for a job as a babysitter, nanny, or other kind of caregiver, you might have searched online or used a website that matches you up with potential employers. Scammers also use these sites. Learn how to spot these fake jobs and avoid them.
What To Know About Nanny and Caregiver Job Scams
When you’re looking for potential jobs as a nanny or caregiver, you might search online or use employment matching websites like Care.com, Sittercity.com, or Craigslist.com. But scammers know this — and can post fake job ads designed to trick you into sending them money or sharing personal information.
Here are a few things to watch out for:
- Be suspicious if you’re offered a job and hired without an interview in person or over the phone. Scammers might say they’re out of town or too busy, or come up with other excuses for not talking to you on the phone or meeting you in person. But keep in mind — even if they do interview you, that doesn't guarantee it's not a scam.
- If you get a check before you even start working, it could be a fake check scam. The person hiring you might say it’s your first paycheck, or that it’s to buy supplies or for expenses related to caring for their loved one. But later they’ll tell you to send part of the money to someone else, or return it to them. They’ll come up with excuses, like they overpaid you, they need the money to pay for unexpected medical bills, or some other emergency. The check is fake, and by the time the bank realizes it, the scammer has your money, and the bank will want you to repay the money you withdrew.
Here’s what to do if you get a job offer:
- Check out potential employers before giving them any sensitive information. Search online for their name, email address, phone number, and even the text of the message they sent — along with terms like "complaint," "scam," or "fraud." You might find that others have had bad experiences and been scammed by the same people, or in a similar way.
- Don’t send money to your potential boss. Your employer should pay you, not the other way around. Don’t believe any story about why your employer sent you a check for more than you expected to be paid, and why you need to send some of that money back. And if your new employer asks you to send them money using cryptocurrency, a gift card, or wire transfer through a company like MoneyGram or Western Union, don’t do it. It’s a scam and that’s not a real job.
- Get as many details in writing as you can. Ask a potential employer to send you details of the job duties, the pay, and the hours. If they refuse, that could be a sign of a problem.
If You Sent Money to a Scammer
Scammers often ask you to pay in ways that make it tough to get your money back. No matter how you paid a scammer, the sooner you act, the better. Learn more about what to do if you think you paid a scammer.
- Report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov and to your state attorney general.
- Tell the website where you found the job. The scammer is likely to rip off other caregivers looking for work.
- File a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service if you got a check through the U.S. mail.
If you gave the scammer your personal or financial information, go to IdentityTheft.gov to report it and get advice to protect your identity.