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Fake checks: The nanny or caregiver scam

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Do you offer your professional services as a babysitter, nanny, or other kind of caregiver? You may have used websites that can match you up with potential clients – sites like Care.com or Sittercity.com. These sites can be a convenient and efficient way to drum up business. But scammers may misuse these sites. FTC staff has seen complaints about con artists cheating caregivers with a counterfeit check scheme that asks you to send payment to a third party. Details may vary, but, in general, the scam works like this:

Someone replies to your listing on the site, saying they want to hire you to care for their child, parent, or even a pet. They often say they live out of state and are moving to your area soon. They may ask you – with a very persuasive story that tugs at your heartstrings – to accept delivery of special items or medical equipment their loved one will need while in your care. They send you a check to deposit and ask you to keep some money as payment for your services and then transfer the rest to a third party – supposedly to pay for the goods.

What’s the problem? The check and the third party turn out to be fake. It takes only a day or two for your bank to make the money available to you, but it can take weeks for your bank to determine a check is phony. If you already withdrew that money, you’re on the hook to pay back the bank. If you’ve already transferred the money to the third party, it’s gone – like sending cash. And, since the recipient can pick up the money from a different money transfer location than the one you sent it to, it’s nearly impossible to find the recipient. That’s how these con artists avoid detection.

So how can you protect yourself? If a potential client urges you to transfer money using a service like Western Union or MoneyGram, it’s probably a scam. Don’t send money to someone you don’t know, either in cash or through a money transfer service. Likewise, don’t deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then transfer the money. No matter how convincing the story, it’s a lie. And, as always, don’t respond to any messages that ask for your personal or financial information, regardless of whether the message comes as an email, a phone call, a text, or an ad.

If you or someone you know was tricked into transferring money – for any reason, report it to the money transfer company:

  • MoneyGram: 1-800-666-3947 (1-800-955-7777 for Spanish) or at moneygram.com
  • Western Union: 1-800-448-1492

Then, report it to the FTC. And you may want to notify the site that’s being misused. The scammer is likely trying to prey on other caregivers looking for work.

Tagged with: fake check, jobs, scam
Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Comments

Well anyone got Mariah zubak or Maria she sent a check for 3,700 450 for me to despoit in an account bank America then saying the rest is going towards furniture NANNY JOB MARIAH ZUBAK

im in the middle of a scam right now i just know it is expecially after reading all of this thank god for this site. ive been talking to my scammer for two weeks now i kept all the emails his name is REV.JEFF GILBERT yea a rev.he found me on i need money.com so he sent me a check for 1,700 im supose to keep 500.00 out of it and he said after i cash it he will tell me where to send the rest of the money. but first he sent me a check for 2,000 i told him i had gotton it then he said oh dont cash that one he said i wasnt suppose to get that one he said after i cash the second one he will tell me what to do with the first one. but the thing about this check is the top has gentle dentle clinic and then the amount like payroll check anyways i told him i dont have a bank account he told me open one and cash it and to hurry cause the other person im suppose to send the money to really needs it so i guess the scam is im suppose to cash the check keep 500 and send the rest to whoever he tells me to which is most likeely himself and then ill have to pay all the money back. but i lied and told him i put the check into the new bank account and they told me i had to leave it in there for ten days his only question is what bank did you put it in i didnt answer so he thinks were waiting for me to cash it im not that stupid. see where i was asking for money on my site he was sending me a check and it seemed real i wanted it to be real but its not i know its not. thanks for listening and for this site.

I just got the same scam from the Rev got sent 2650 told me to cash it then send the rest through Walmart to a women that is in need of an operation. On I'm totally desperate. com

That is too crazy! This same number was used in a scam for a personal assistant with a friend of mine. same scenario... I was like, why do you need a Personal assistant that lives in Atlanta when you live in California... lol

I got an email & text from Stephanie William basically the message goes the same as everything I've seen posted on here . Care wanted . Relocating. Wheel chair . Check . Pre pay for services . The only difference in my story is that she offered to meet me , before I even asked even tho I already "had the job" she wanted to meet face to face on Dec. 12 2015 at a public location at 6:00pm here where I stay (Atlanta) she also didn't tell me to wire any money after I cashed the check just to pay my $350 & buy a wheelchair and if I didn't want it sent to my address have it delivered to the post office. She didn't even ask if I had a bank account she just assumed . But ya know clearly it's a scam just wanted to post my story ( and this was via care.com)

Exactly same here. The phone number he/she uses is (304) 699-1207. I almost bought it too, so thanks for this post.

Same here, very persistent. In the emails and text messages she sent there were a lot of misused words. She texted at all hours of the night too, one text was at 1:30 AM. I have all documentation and I am going to report this. Her name is Lindsey Mitchell phone number is 785-403-4126. She want the money sent to China via Western Union. She used the Care.com website saying she needed care for her mom. I have all documentation including a copy of the fake check.

I need your help catching this person I am certain I know the culprit

I just got the SAME exact scam the other day. Pamela Williams, who is moving from Texas and her son needs a wheelchair. In her first email she explained to me that I'll be needing to cash her check and send the rest to the wheelchair company. I told her she must send me more information than that and I haven't heard from her since. I was also contacted from care.com. Wow I can't believe I almost fell for that. It seemed so legit at first, once I got to thinking I knew I had to research this situation more.

I got a text msg from a fake kate barnsworth today who says that she lives in Boston and that her husband recently died in a car accident in Boston and that her son Andy is now paralyzed and that she needs a weekend babysitter. She says she is relocating to my area and that she will send me a weekends pay on advance as well as a wheelchair for her son to my house and she wants to know all of my personal info. She also claims to be hard of hearing and a graduate of Phoenix School for the Deaf. She is a fake .

I got a Sharon cowell and she too was hard of hearing. And graduated from Texas school of deaf. Son was in a wheel chair. Sick individual. That's why I never spoke to her cause I thought she couldn't hear on the phone

Oh man! I'm new to care.com but I thought something was fishy about Sharon cowell I got the exact same Information! Her latest email asked me for my personal information but I'm so glad I looked up the name before replying back to her! How do I report it?

Sharon Cowell is now James Favor and lost both her husband and new born and only has her son James who is in a wheel chair. She's still deaf and a stock broker moving to my area as well to escape painful memories and needs someone 3 days a week to care for her son. $20 an hour.Way too much detail in her introduction, spelling issues, total scammer!Found ad on Craigslist.Heres the new text number:1 708-232-3238

Got the message from James Favor too from wyzant. She wants to mail me a check in advance to tutor her 13 year old son James. She insisted to pay me in advance and asked for my resident address to hold my availability The number she used is 708-325-8259. Be careful. I didn't provide her the info. and she stopped to respond

I recieved a wheelvhair story similar but from a person named Paulina Smith.

This happened to me while I was in Los Angeles looking for a babysitting job. Same exact story except the child wasn't in a wheel chair. That was a mess with my bank account.

This person is also going by the name Ashlea       , using the number (408) 740-6184 and email, I received the same type of email yesterday in response to my indeed.com resume. Ashlea was relocating, needed a nanny, husband died in car accident, daughter in wheelchair, mom is hard of hearing and recently graduated from Texas school of deaf... I'm glad I did research before responding and giving out my personal info, so I was saved from the scam but I am definitely reporting her!!

I just got the exact same email! Ashlea's e!ail was in my response to my indeed. resume. I thought it was odd that I would have to go get a wheelchair and that was she wanted to pay me ahead of time. Though this person didn't want to meet on the 17th. But that probably would have ended up with me just sitting somewhere being stood up. I'm reporting her as soon as I can!

This is the real Ashlea and I'm wondering if you could remove my name from this post? I can understand if you do not want to, to let people know, but I really do not want my name associated with this horrible scam!

Just got a very similar message from a "Kehla Moore." She got my information from care.com. She had the whole wheelchair story and everything. I even wrote out my information and address and then felt my gut tell me to not send it. So I decided to look up "nannying" scams and I found this! Terrible that people like this are out there.

I got one from Sharon Cowell too! Creepy!

This happened to me today. Sharon Cowell said she got my information from care.com Was going to send me a week salary and the money to pay for a wheel chair for her son. Wanted me to deposit check and pay pay the wheel chair. Glad I google her on the internet and went to my mail and deleted information sent to her on where I live

i totally just got the exact same email, except the names are different. the nerve of some people. i am really glad that i found this website.

I got the exact same message from "Kate" I almost fell for it but I never sent her my address or information and she stopped replying

I got the SAME exact story about the son dying in a car accident, and the child is now paralyzed etc.. so glad I didn't buy into it! "Jennifer Smith" I sent her my resume and now im even sketched out about that..

I just got the same exact email except from a Jennifer Pickton ? Her son is in a wheelchair she is also hard of hearing. She is moving from Texas to Vegas where I am located. Asked me to take care of her son. I gave my address though, what should I do if the check arrives. I created a Care.com account just recently

If you get a check that might be fake, you can take it to your bank. If the scheme involved the U.S. mail, you can submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

You can also file a complaint with details about the messages and check you got. Report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I just got the same e-mail! Im so nervous now. We have been talking all day and I decided to search her name and I found your post. Were you ever contacted again? Should I report her to something?

I got the exact same story from a woman named "Lisa Spencer" BEWARE!!!!!!!! it's a scam!!!!

I got the same exact email from Jennifer Pickton who is looking for a dog sitter for her dog "ZEUS". She even sent me pictures of her family so I fell for it. I gave her my dress but I am so glad I found this thread.

I received the same email, same pictures, and same story. She told me she was deaf and could not speak on the phone. I run a dog day care so I was home and saw a car park in front of my house, she didn't knock just walked up the steps with her head down and put the mail. I thought it was a dog owner picking up their pet so I opened the front door. She looked very nervous. Didn't say anything and left.

Same story, moving to Chicago. Used the Name Melissa Jones

I got the same story from a lady named Maggie Wilsom

I just got a text from a stephaniewilliam008 saying she was moving from PA to NY and wanted to hire me to watch her dog. I had a bad feeling immediately, and now I'm glad I followed my gut.

she texted me under the name paulina smith and sent me a check of $1950 to pay for me, and the rest for the wheel chair...

I'm glad I found someone that's talked to "Paulina Smith" too. This scammer actually made me feel like I was talking to an actual person with interests in having a nanny for her wheel chair bound, fatherless son. The nerve of some people. I gave my address and everything and the check popped up today. At first I felt guilty for being rude for how I we acting bemused her responses were pleasant and understanding. But now, I want to find this person and give them a piece of my mind. The nerve of some people. Now I'm skeptical about using care.com.. Disgusting.

This just happened to my 19 yr. old daughter via care.com. She too wanted to meet her and gave a location. I thought it was more of a kidnapping thing. She just received the fraudulent check today but with no instructions and no contact with the "woman Evelyn T. Parker for two weeks. Why would they have wanted to meet and what are they wanting with her if they gave her no instructions? This person had tons of spelling errors too and said her son needed a wheel chair because he broke his legs then later on in the conversation said her son was handicapped. We told her we wanted to skype and have an interview with her and her son before accepting the position and they never responded until receiving this check today. If we didn't know better and deposited it but didn't spend it is there a way they can get my daughter's bank information? Otherwise I can't fathom what the purpose of this is.

I also got a message from someone saying they were Evelyn Parker. She emailed pictures of her daughter and had initially said she was handicapped and then the story changed to she broke her legs. I didn't think anything of it at first but when I told my family they told me it was a scam and to stop responding. I've gotten really angry texts from them as well as a check for well over $4000. I haven't been responding and today they texted me saying, "you should be ashamed of yourself for taking advantage of the condition of a small kid just to satisfy your greed ....you will regret ever scamming me you thief"
Since you didn't wire anything, there isn't a way for them to get her bank information. I ripped my check up when I received it.

I got this msg for this lady .

Thanks for your quick response to my email,My Name is Mary Forbes from Canada (Ontario) I'm moving to your area for 4 weeks having contract with N.G.O Non Governmental Organization that takes care of children living with HIV/AIDS we are sponsored by UNI AIDS and A.S.O Aids Service Organization ,

i want you to help me Care for daughter from 9am to 4pm from Monday to Friday for 4 weeks but i have to make sure everything is well organized and arrange before leaving. My daughter's name is Wendy is 5 years old, she likes to play around with kids and like to be pampered with toys. My daughter is healthy, i just need someone to take care for her while am at work, all necessary contracts will be filled when we arrive to the state.

You do not have to worry about transportation, I have negotiate with a cab Driver that will be driving her down to your place go and come I would like you to get back to me with your total charges for 4 weeks during your available periods because my affiliated company will make an upfront payment for my 4 weeks in the states to help me settle down.

Kindly send the following details to get your paycheck processed . Full name to be on the check :- Street address (not P.O Box): - City:- State:- Zip code:- Total charges:- Mobile number for easier communication: I will await for the information from you as soon as possible. Remember she is all i have and i really want a conducive and pleasant atmosphere for her. We will arrived to the state on 9th of Nov, start on the 10th Nov 2015.

Mary Forbes 3600 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L3R 9Z7,

I got the same email..good you can check nowadays the web for stuff like that

I got the same email! But it seems real? She's been emailing me consistent and being very real about it..?

I would always ALWAYS ask what is the first language of the parent(s) and child ("In order to be sure we can effectively communicate, what is your native language?"). If the sender says English and then sends a text full of spelling/grammatical errors, they're likely lying. Especially if they hold some high position within a company willing to pay up front for the childcare of an employee. From the text of the Mary message, you do not have a native English speaker. A SURE SIGN OF A SCAM!!!

I just received the same email but from Susan William. I figured it was a scam and here is the proof. Thank you!

I received the same email from a guy on sittercity they just updated me saying he was terminated from the website. Had a feeling he wasn't legit because after he promised me the job he put up the same post a week later with a different name and email. So I made a different email used a different name & he wrote the same thing to my personal email on this one. My boyfriend just told me the day before something was up & he was right..

I got same one

Just got this email her name is now Kate.London 3600 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L3R 9Z7,

Thanks for your quick response to my email,My Name is Kate from Canada (Ontario) I'm moving to your area for 4 weeks having contract with N.G.O Non Governmental Organization that takes care of children living with HIV/AIDS we are sponsored by UNI AIDS and A.S.O Aids Service Organization ,i want you to help me Care for daughter from 9am to 4pm from Monday to Friday for 4 weeks but i have to make sure everything is well organized and arrange before leaving.

My daughter's name is Wendy is 5 years old, she likes to play around with kids and like to be pampered with toys. My daughter is healthy, i just need someone to take care for her while am at work, all necessary contracts will be filled when we arrive to the state.You do not have to worry about transportation, I have negotiate with a cab Driver that will be driving her down to your place go and come I would like you to get back to me with your total charges for 4 weeks during your available periods because my affiliated company will make an upfront payment for my 4 weeks in the states to help me settle down.

Kindly send the following details to get your paycheck processed . Full name to be on the check :- Street address (not P.O Box): - City:- State:- Zip code:- Total charges:- Mobile number for easier communication: I will await for the information from you as soon as possible. Remember she is all i have and i really want a conducive and pleasant atmosphere for her. We will arrived to the state on 10 of July, start on the 11th July 2016 Kate.London 3600 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L3R 9Z7, I would anticipate your response,Thanks for your anticipated service.

Omg this is just happening to me same storie just different names. I just told him to not send anything and that if he does I will return it back.

So I just received a similar email from a "Michael Buckner ", I unfortunately gave him my email, phone, address and after he sent me pictures of his "family" and "daughter", he asked me to send pictures as well. So being desperate, I did, but I have felt uncomfortable ever since. Turns out the number is scam. However, my concern is if I should be scared of any potential harm. They offered to pay upfront and told them it wasn't necessary. If I get the check, I know not to deposit it.
Should I report it?

You can report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

If you give a stranger your name, address, phone number and email address, he might misuse it. Read about what to do if your information is lost or exposed.

i received an email exactly like that, and did the exact same thing sent pictures back, but luckily i did a reverse image search and found out that the picture they sent me was from a magazine article, my worries are that they have all my personal information, including all of my references personal information.

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