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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

What did you do? I got the same thing and I sent pictures as well..

Wow I'm glad I checked this cite. I got an email from Michael Buckner too plus two others. I emailed them back and even made the mistake of giving my address to one of them. I will not deposit any checks but I'm afraid how they might use my personal information.

Please be careful with a Nikolas Muller aka Nikass asking to take care of his dad who lives with him in Kansas. The fathers name is Phillip Muller supposedly. I almost fell for this. He had my name and home address. He stopped texting me as soon as I said I didn't have a bank account. I responded to a caregiver add on Craigslist that read personal Senior care. Do not give him bank account info please.

Beware of Nancy and Alexander Melberg supposedly moving to the States from Denmark. I became suspicious and contacted them saying I felt it was a scam but I just got a text stating the funds should arrive today ( Christmas Day). I will be contacting the FTC after the holidays.

Got the same message from this couple. Yes,they are scammers.

Just got a check yesterday, thank you all for the info!!! This is the address they used

Two years ago, I got a very similar e-mail about a job I posted for on Craig's list. It was for a Restaurant Manager (FoH) Grand Opening New Brazilian Steakhouse type in Downtown Center City, blah blah. We exchanged numerous emails, with a very courteous Head Chef Extraordinaire Jose Leon. Very professional sounding in emails & calls. I asked for a Website/Location of this Job. They gave me an exact address, I actually went down and it was a really nice building with a "Coming Soon" Grand Opening sign on the doors. So the next email, they say We need you to order the POS Microsoft Machines for the servers/bartenders. Can you be @ the restaurant next wk and sign for them? I obliged. Then they overnight me a huge official looking package with books about the micros systems and a check for $2450. I was to pay the Micros company $1750, sign for them on delivery, and keep the rest as my pay. He calls me back and says, I got word you received our check, things are moving along faster than expected, please go cash check tomorrow and head over to restaurant either the next day or nite. The check looked legit as hell! My bank cashed it, I figure if the bank cashed it, it's good right? WRONG! Anyways, I was young & dumb and was all excited about this job. The Head Chef calls me the next day and says to wire the money today, goto restaurant tomorrow. I stupidly sent the money - Moneygram to a Desiree Jones, Micros Manager. Of course, there was No Job, No restaurant opening.. NOTHING BUT A SCAM! Now a month later, my bank calls me about a fake check!? I was soo pissed! They prey on people! BEWARE!
Here's a new one - A company calls, leaves messages telling me they received my case from the IRS and I have a bench warrant out for Tax Fraud! I call the number back, they say they can help me get outta trouble by paying a percentage. If not, Police will be arriving with warrant!! Unbelievable! The number was
(202) 524-8877 BEWARE!

I applied to a job posting from indeed and received a text message stating that I was emailed a job offer. I checked my email a few days later to find an email from Kate Balmforth. She offered me a position to care for her 6 year old son, whom was injured from a car accident where the father was lost. They were moving from their state to my state. But indicated she would pay me for a weeks work beforehand to secure the nanny position wih a check. And also asked if a wheelchair could be mailed to my house, since her son was in one. I ended up googling the name and found a bunch of similar cases of this being a scam.

I just received on like this they switched the story to her husband being killed in a car accident. And switched the name to Cindy Balmforth. Wanted to send a check to pay CASH for a wheelchair and keep the rest for pay.

Watch out for Elizabeth Ervin. She found me on Care.com. Offered to send me a check for 2450$. She wanted me to keep 550 as deposit for first week of work. The rest was supposed to be for hearing aids that would arrive COD. I want this stopped. I have emails and a phone number!

You can help law enforcement by filing a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

What was her email?

Ashlea                almost got me her email said exactly this... Thank you for replying to my job posting. I received your resume and i`m interesting in hiring you for my daughter. My name is Ashlea             . I recently lost my husband in a car accident on our way from a long weekend holiday. I am hard of hearing. I attended the Texas school for the deaf where i archived my highest qualification. I own a business and i`m a strong Catholic member.

I need a responsible nanny for my 7 year old daughter. Her name is Lisa. She is currently suffering a leg fracture sustained from the accident that took my husband away. She is placed on a wheelchair as recommended by the specialist. Although; she can walk and carry out some necessary cores by herself. However; the Surgeon advised she uses the wheelchair as a precautionary measure and also to prevent injury set back. The job duties include: Light house keeping, watch and care for her to ensure safety, initiate games, arts & crafts projects, cleaning her room and washing her clothes. I will like you to tell me about yourself.

I will also like for you to provide me with your information so i can run a background check on you. I am assuming you already have the job if only your record comes out clean. We are moving to Indianapolis so as to start a new life. Staying here brings back memories of my late husband so i thought about moving and discussed with my Bishop who considered it enough reason to relocate. We shall arrive Indianapolis on April 16th but the babysitting job begins on Monday 18th. Do you consider meeting on Sunday 17th reasonable? We are going to be available to meet you anytime on 17th. Just let me know where you would like to meet and the time. The job schedule is 9am to 4pm, Monday`s through Friday`s only. Compensation per hour is $18 and i`m wondering if you could assist with receiving Lisa`s wheelchair in your house prior to our arrival. She is currently renting one from the clinic here and i found someone in Indianapolis with the specified wheelchair she needs at a great deal but she has only one left in stock. If you re willing to help, I`m going to find out the delivery procedure and let you know. More importantly, I have seen cases where people book a nanny and they end up not showing up on the start date,I am hard of hearing and its going to be tough for me to find someone just right away. I understand you might be a different person but i do feel more comfortable booking you for the first week by sending your payment of $630 for the week of 18th to 22nd. This is to confirm you booked for the position to avoid disappointment. I hope my disability isn`t a problem and my child being on a wheelchair too? I will like to know if you are available permanently or temporarily.

However, I`ll like you to respond to the below questions : 1. How would you describe yourself? 2. why should i hire you? 3. what are your strengths? 4. What are your weaknesses? 5. Do you have a CPR or willing to take the classes going forward? Please provide your name, street address including apartment number, city and zip code, date of birth and your primary cell phone number so i can text you back with further details as soon as i`m done with the background check. I await your quick response. Thank you! Ashlea               (fake!!!!)

What about a Della Martinez? I just received a check but I'm not depositing it

They almost got me, and I won't say how I figured it out so I don't give them critique on how to do this better because I can tell they've improved their method after reading some of these. Her name was Cynthia Milner (not that it matters because it will change its alias), hard of hearing, moving to my area, said she put me on some payroll and sent a check, never used my address in the first place, will take the check to the bank and maybe police with her email and see what they can do--hopefully they can trace it or the email to stop this scammer. I'm trying to get a second job so I can pay for my family's medical bills and my college debt, I'm 22, and turned down three lesser paying REAL job offers for this scam. It's just sick to me that there are people that can honestly sit in a cozy chair trying to get easy money. For scammers reading this (caps for emphasis): IF YOU PUT THE SAME TIME YOU'RE PUTTING INTO FAILING AT BEING A CHEAT INTO LEARNING/DOING SOMETHING YOU LOVE THEN YOU CAN ACTUALLY START MAKING A DIFFERENCE, MATURING, NOT HURTING PEOPLE AROUND YOU, GAINING PRECIOUS MEMORIES, FINDING LOVE IN AND FOR PEOPLE, AND GROWING. That goes for all of those who cheat. There are real consequences for us real people who are honestly trying our hardest to make ends meet for those we love. You could be messing with someone who finds the cure to YOUR cancer (I work in a research lab). Don't let cheating be your cancer--it's draining your life, your time, and everyone else's.

After opening a Care.com account two days ago, I got a text from someone (phone number 419-776-4106) who wanted me to email her at Cynthia.miller007@-----. She wants to pay me $400 to work 2 hours a day, 3 days a week as a housekeeper.
I emailed her last night, asking what days, what hours.
She texted me AGAIN this morning with the exact same text, and I responded that I had already answered her.
Checked my email and she said she was moving here from Ohio to do some research with an herbal supplement company, needed a housekeeper, part time to start would be fine, could I reply with my address, full name and phone number so she could calculate the distance between us.
OK woman, you already have my phone number, you sent me two identical texts! And I had signed my email with my full name!

I just received a fed ex of a check in mail for 2400+ dollars. Then emailed about depositing check and keeping 6oo.00 and sending rest to the " foster home" but as I went to Walmart and attempted to cash it was told it "can't be read".

I just fell for it too. $4700...bank says I'm liable. Its hard to believe there are people in this world that really do this with their lives. What life is that?

Received an email from a Rose Henry. Similar story wanted me to babysit in the future and wanted me to send her my information for a background check. Also wanted me to pick up a wheelchair for her. After reading other comments on here I now know it's a check scam. So sad that people would do this. Story goes: deaf wife in wheelchair, deaf husband after long weekend, young child needing care.

I have been scammed by a Michelle Tabb. She took 2800 from me and she was trying to take 10,000!

I got an email from a Tyler James from sitter.com. Claiming she's a single mother of two boys. She said she was out of town and will me money in advance so I can start upon her arrival. Then something just didn't feel right so I goggle his/her name at sitter.com and immediately found this page. I'm glad I did. Sorry to hear what happened to you, people nowadays don't have hearts anymore.

Did you read the article? NEVER give anyone any money. Period. There is NEVER EVERY a valid reason for you to have to give money to anyone no matter what!!!!!! If you are asked to send money it's a SCAM!!!!!!!

Yesterday I was looking for Caregiver opportunities on Indeed. I applied to ComfortkeepersTO. I received this reply from JValentine961 @   Appears to be a scam. In the message he is wanting to send funds that I would cash. Caregivers looking for work please watch out for this scam.

Hello, Thanks for the interest . I work with the UNDP. I do travel within and outsite the state for programs. I need your service for my mother who is 70 years of age, 120lbs and 5.6''. She speaks English and Spanish. She was once been taken to the Elderly care home but the environment is not conducive for her that is why i need your service at home. - You are to be checking on her at least 3-4 times in a week for proper caring and to know how well about her health . - You will be earning $500 per week for handling this work perfectly. - You will be driving her to the hospital when the need arises for proper medical check up at least once in a month and if you don't know how to drive a car, you can hire it or take a cab. - Your working days will be Wednesday, Friday, Saturday-Sunday . You will have to prescribe the convenient hours during each of this days which will not affect your other regular work as this will be a part time work for now and if you want to live with her in the house to make it full time, you are absolute free to do so. To proceed, kindly provide me your full name and mailing address so that we can ensure the housing broker get her an apartment which will be more closer to your house. I hope about 10 miles will not be too far for you. However, You receive an upfront payment for your first week salary because you will get her some medical supplies in any nearest pharmacy/store around you. If all this works for you, you can get back to me with the following details so that we can ensure you are ready for the work. 1. Full Name 2. Mailing Address, 3. City 4. State and Zip Code 5. Cell Phone Number 6. Age/Sex/Marital status. I will forward her address I will give you her home address once the housing broker find her a suitable house to know where you will be working once you accept the position. I will be waiting for your email to proceed as you understand that the date of her arrival is close. Thanks.

On Sun, Dec 10, 2017 at 7:42 PM, wrote: Hello, I am interested in the Caregiver opportunity.

very useful, thanks.

I agree, as my Mom turns 90 soon~ people are always calling and asking her for her information!

I got the EXACT same email but it was from a jessica smith instead, I already gave her my address and name what should I do?

Didn't you read paco?! It is a scam! Please don't send these people any money no matter where it is to!! Never respond to a stranger asking you to cash a check and/or wire money.

I received one of these checks. I knew better than to cash it. Maybe being from the UK makes me clever;

I just received a fake check from an ad I placed on Craig list. I told the guy I don't accept checks, he sent it anyway. I put it back in the mailbox with return to sender, I hope he gets it. This guy is agressive I hope he doesn't become a problem?

What were the repercussions of your actions? I found myself on the same situation.

Thank you for your adviced. Without these information I would have been rip off by these people. Luckily i have got nothing for them during these day. Thanks again and I wish you with my best wishes.

I am currently dealing with the very convincing "Charles Harris" in a caregiver scheme. It is a mirror image of someone else's ordeal. He still hasn't sent the check to me that will include a weeks pay, supplies reinbursement, and money to pay for a wheel chair that supposedly will come to my home. I almost refused another job because of his convincing story.

I also am dealing with "Charles Harris" in a caregiving scheme. Same scenario lives in California needs help with his mom who wants to come back to her home. Will send me a check for supplies and wheelchair and a weeks pay. He did send me a check my bank is aware of this I don't know what the end game is.

Hi, I am dealing with the same situation as you are now. I received an email after posting my resume on Craigslist for a job. The woman told me she needs a nanny for her children. She sent me a check to pay for a wheelchair and a week pay in advance. I was not thinking correctly, I deposited the check into my bank. Now the bank realize it a fake scheme check. They put a hold into my account for further investigation. Now I have no cash to use and no debit card. What sh I UK I do? Will I be able to use my bank again? It crazy situation.

Did you spend the money from that check you had deposited into your bank account? and now your account is in the red meaning you owe the bank the money you spent? If you answer is yes, let this be a lesson to you, never spend money that you have not yet earned. It would get you in trouble everytime because your are living on borrowed money, and if you don't have a regular constant income coming in to pay for your bill, housing, food etc. etc.. You will never be a ble to save money and get ahead. If this the case then let it be a lesson for the future to live by. Do not spend money you have no yet earned. Good luck and I wish you well.

your answer is yes,

Was her name mary Wesley?

Omg this happen to me today I received a check earlier today from a guy name ray roseline. He wanted me to deposit the check as soon as I get it,I tried calling him but it just ring and goes to voicemail every time he would make up excuses about him not having phone service or he couldn't hear me.

yes this same man did that to me he told me his name was ray roseline and that he was deaf and sent me a 2,785,18 and was arguing me down to deposit that check . thank god I tricked him into talking to my boyfriend and we found out he was scamming..

I got the same thing except for they changed their name to Roseline Ray.

Me too exact same name. I'm playing around with this "woman" with a fake email asking for a babysitting job

I almost fell for this too. I am in very bad finances atm, and this was a dream job---too good it turned out. I tried sending the western union/money gramhams but both were flagged. I feel so foolish! I contacted both W.U. & M.G. immediately once I saw this and cancelled the transfers(successfully), and reported it to the police and FTC both. I feel so sick...health care workers are the most caring and hard working people who want to help people, only to see this. :/ I hope no one else fell victim to this scam.

Dreammirror,so sorry it happened to you to. I am a nurse retired and was just looking for something to supplement my Social Security. The lady contacted me on Aug 29, her name is Katrina. Aug 29 was the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I lost everything and I think she is playing a sick joke. Still dealing with issues from the storm and for a few days I felt great, thinking I was goin back to work Did the police do anything for you? At least we didn't lose any money.

I just received a private call telling me I won 3,200 million and they proceeded to say my address and them asked if I was single, I told them I was widowed and they said I needed ID and was not sure if I needed money up front. and they would call me back tomorrow morning at 9:00 The man gave a name Ashton ph #254 340 2940. Is there somewhere I could check if this is a scam. Thank you

I applied for a child care position on sittercity for a Felixs Smith and his wife Amanda Smith who claim to live in Bakersfield, Vermont.He claims I am hired to care for his 3yr old son (and hasn't even met me yet) and he'll send me a check for payment in advance and the remaining money I am to wire via western union to his sister! It all sounded ridiculous so I did some checking and learned it is a SCAM.

I have receive email from someone said that they are moving to Orlando from somewhere I can't remember now but they will like me to take care for their 2 kids age 3 months to 1 years old and they will need to take care of them why they get their place ready and they will send me money the money now $400 dollar week but the husband will be here working with the kids and he will need to take care of them why the father work and the mother will be down later she have to sell the house where ever they was from. So all I need to do is to send them my information so that they can send me the money rite away. My full name, address,date of birth.

I got a email from a scammer I talked to him by email he sound convincing, I told my husband, as soon as he asked for my info I knew it was a scam. ugh... these people have nothing better to do...

I had scammers already, one stated he worked with the CIA and would be relocating to the area in 1 month but wanted to set-up pet sitting for his 2 dogs. He gave me an address in Canada and then asked me to fill out this form. I knew he was a fake by everything he was saying. He gave me a name and address and everything. I went online and googled the address, it was a Rehab center in Canada, I then emailed the CIA and questioned them about this person, they were very nice getting back to me and stated they do not have anyone by that name employed with them plus they would only email with their own professional mail. Well I got back to this person just to let him know I was onto him and to think twice about doing this to someone else, I told him my accounting dept. checked the address and there was a problem, never heard back. Yea whenever they want to know where they should send the check or they want you to fill out a form they emailed to you or it just sounds too go to be true go with your gut. One guy said he was a doctor and would be in the area in 2 weeks, needed a sitter for his dog while he was site seeing, *L*, there isn't anything to site see!!!! Just beware, don't give information out on you or your bank.

I am currently contacting someone with a similar story. 2 dogs named misty (Australian Terrier) and razor (German shepard). Except the name is Hillary Wright. Said would send $400 check and use rest for "foodstuffs" and other items they would need. Also from Canada. Lmaooooo this is pathetic!! I'm thinking of playing along so I can catch her and have her put in jail!

I had received a few from this site, offering wonderful pay and weird histories. So I knew it wasn't true, so I wrote back telling them that I wasn't idiot and I told them if they keep sending me letters I will report to the police. So they stopped it.

After having nothing but fraudulent job offers on this site www.sittercity.com it’s my opinion that my personal information has been severely compromised, along with personal information of others using this website. Having been a private investigator for 15 years, I know first hand that the government is not going to do anything about this problem and it should be up to the website owners to have strict if not background checks for the solicitations of any job postings/listings. Simply writing on a blog and posting the same information that everyone has gone through, will not keep our information private nor give the entire picture of these crimes to your clients. It should be up to www.sittercity.com to offer opt-out of solicitation's of private information for your members and opt-in information of the people wanting to hire anyone on this site. I will be forwarding this email to the appropriate government authorities and keep any correspondence from them up to date with www.sittercity.com. Furthermore, this has become a complete waste of my time and having to find work on top of dealing with a website that doesn’t follow any type of protocol for it’s members is very discouraging and costly.

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