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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

I feel people who post on websites like this and Graiglists sometimes need to be investigated on their backgrounds and if they are looking for attention, I know a lady like this she was removed from home for abuse to her mother. Put in a rehab center her own father kicked her to the curb, the Mother felt bad took her back sad thing if mother don't give her money she don't take her church, buy her food , in fact her words were I'm here and I can't wait to put mom 6 feet under some nanny if getting paid by the state take money to buy booze, sit at slot machines need to be locked up forever

So what do you really do then if your a victim of this? My bank closed my account. Do I file a police report or talk to my bank?

If you deposited a fake check and withdrew money, you need to repay the bank for the money you withdrew. Contact your bank about the repayment. You can also report the scam to your state and local consumer protection agencies, and to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

I answered an add on sittercity. Turns out the "woman:Morgan James" is away in Australia and needed me to be "her" personal assistant instead. She was emailing me long lists of job descriptions and sent a fed-ex envelop with the 'check' for over $2000. I was to take $500 for my salary and send the rest to an art dealer.
I became very suspicious for two reasons. The text message was not consistent With the English that was well written in the emails. They sent a text full of spelling/grammatical errors, and they claimed that I needed to use my own money $1500 first and they'd pay me back! WTF! They were lying to me and I told them they were not genuine and to stop bothering me. B'm soooo glad I did not open the package but dropped it off at my post office with " Return to Sender." I'm so disappointed because I was hoping this was real. I need the money to supplement my social security. But at least my bank account isn't closed and I don't have to pay back anyone. Thank God for this site and others like it. Before that package with the check came I was already on to them!

I literally had the same thing happen to me. Morgan James offered the same position as a personal assistance for 500 hundred dollars a week!!! I was stupid enough to give my address and such but I'm going to call the post office and have them send the package right back!!!! Glad I googled the name Morgan James personal assistant.

I'm such an idiot too ... I hope the same email about being a personal assistant... But from a Hope Carter . I have this person my address so now I am a little scared . Do you still get mail from this person?

I received a check last month from Susan Lampard and her accountant, Edward Hauser and her husband. They said they were in France for her dad's funeral and would be back int he states. Shwe wanted to pay me for 2 weeks pay, but the accountant supposedly sent me her airplane fare with it, so i was to cash it and send her the money, minus my fee. I let my bank check the check out first, I was scammed in 2013 , so i was not about to cash that check!She needed childacare and said she lived up North, Colo. Springs. I told her the bank said the check was bad and even after that , 'SOMEONE' texted me and said she was still trying to get a hold of the accountant. I suggest if the Sittercity account is not current, then do not reply to them on the site. I did reply to her ad, then i deleted it, BUT.. IT WOULD NOT DELETE! So that's how she contacted me and because of all the waiting, i missed out on about 7 jobs within 3 days, on the site, and one off of the site. I hate Liars and i hope to God they ALL get caught! So sad!!!!

Same thing happened to me by two people trying to send me a check but I didn't cash it. One by the name (John stone) and I forgot the other name. Everybody needs to be careful of these scammer.they are very good at what the do.so watch out people

I had an email from some guy from Korea from care.com to watch his two year old son and my bf said tell them to meet face to face first so i did I got nothing back

I believe this is a scam. I applied and thee guy answered me, needed my email and phone number so he can interview me by phone or email as he was out of town. who leaves there elderly dad, puts an ad in Care.com and interviews over the phone or email?
In need of a caregiver for my dad,he's 81 years old and a war veteran. Has all faculties intact and has non allergic asthma. Caregiver will be needed for companionship and running of errands. The fee is $25 per hour on weekdays only.
Care Recipient. Male. Very receptive to outside help. Age range: Over 85 years old

I just had this happen to me a guy names Andrew revira on craigslist asked me to be his baby sitter and told.me he was sending me a check and I ignored him for two weeks got an email saying.I would have a check today so I notified the nearest police station and they told to wait and bring them the check. Stupidity these days.

I just had 2 similar things happen to me as well from care.com....both were going to be moving to the area & wanted me to babysit for there kids & they don't even know me.I did contact care.com, they will look into it. Here are the name's/e-mail address's I have in case it can help others: Lisa Hall for www.esthermcconnell1225 & Stephanie William, www.stephaniewilliam001 I have both there #'s, when you call its a recording saying can only recv. text messg. I am going to the Police dept. tomm.

I just got an "offer" from Stephanie William as well. Same pay, same email, etc. only I was wanted for care of her elderly mother. I'm glad I trusted my first instinct and checked further. If anything comes of this I will keep you all posted!

Lisa Hall contacted me too!!

Did anyone get anything from a woman named Paloma stolee?

Is this person a scammer , she contacted my sister. She seems fishy to me. Wants to send check,key to her place. Lives in Portugal,coming soon.

I got one from her. She gave me some long history about Portugal which was weird, so I immediately looked her up since it seemed really sketchy. I was desperate enough to believe that I would get 25 an hour without even questioning it.

I got a text message from someone who claimed they got my number from care.com though I never put my number on there needing a babysitter the area code was from Vancouver and I live in Iowa. His name was Mark Vinson anyone else get this? I never responded.

I got a text message from someone who claimed they got my number from care.com too! I thought it was strange because I thought I had put that on private...but I was like well, maybe I forgot to? So they sent me an email..well I emailed that person who was their "friend" who needed dog sitting help and was relocating from australia..ready to send a check to me early so I can get their apartment ready with "foodstuffs" ...what is foodstuffs? So I told them I'd need a reference or background check before I gave them any of my information for the check to be sent. They never replied. So how did they get my number in the first place?? We tried calling the number and it went to an automated message..didn't even ring..that said the person is unavailable but we will let them know you called. WEIRD and creepy!! what if i had gone to the apartment? or would they have just stopped after receiving my name, gender, and address?? what can they do with all that? it wasn't even bank information. My lady's name was Wendy Johnson and even had a pic of her with her dog...

I've also received a check from Claire Smith. It's iver 4 K dollars. She wants me to purchase selected pet products as they are moving here from Australia on Oct. 25. Now that I got the check today, she says to deduct the $400 for me and western union the rest to a person who will take care of getting the pet supplies.

i just got a text message from someone claiming that they got my number from care.com and that their brother needs someone to pet sit his dog and gave me an email. i emailed him and he replied back with all this stuff about $300 a week, and said the same things about "food stuffs" and needing me to go out and buy certain things before we met in person. this is definitely a scam. the name he used was RICHARD MURRAY

I received the same message..this persons name is perez anderson..he said he and his wife Deborah who is 6 months pregnant are moving to my town from Canada and they need a housekeeper . They want to send me a check for my services and to get their house ready for them to arrive. It's a shame that people victimize others who really need jobs...I'm disgusted by this behavior .

whats the phone number they use? i believe i might be talking to the same scammer but his name is paul bridges claims to be in France have a 5 month pregnant wife and needs a nanny for his 3 yr old son promising $400 a week plus wants to send me keys to go get there new apartment ready and a long list of things to buy this is the number he uses to txt me from
(386) 742-5085

I got the same email. But it was from a Vicky Anderson

I got the same message also, its all a scam they never gave me a phone number so we could talk.

I have had two scammers contact me about babysitting jobs right after I signed up with care.com last week or so. I was (and still am) pretty unfamiliar with the site, still getting used to it. "Mary" and "Ruth Wesley" were the names. I wasn't sure about "Mary" because the story was so convincing....until "Ruth" contacted me with the same story with different names and immediately asked for my address, etc to mail me money. I had not even told her about myself or anything, so I ceased to correspond any longer. "Ruth" did have help in the crime though. I was contacted first by a "Kim Rogers" who was supposedly helping her friend to search for babysitters... lies. all lies. Good thing I never give my information to strangers.

The person with the email above (Stephanie) above also contacted me, like they did with "Really" but because I am in the law enforcement field, I absolutely noticed there was something shady about it. These people need to be found and prosecuted and websites like care.com need to take steps to also protect the service providers by running criminal history reports on people requesting services just like how they run criminal history reports on providers. I think we all are probably adults and we picked up on the fraud issue but there are several young adults that sign up to these websites to provide a service, Lord forbid, should one of these young adults was to show up to a "job site" and they are killed. In this case, the fraud issue would be the least of the worries.

Referring back to the comments already made, I have also been through the same situation. I was honestly desperate for a job and at first it did seem sketchy but I went through with it. I ended up getting a check and it was mailed from a whole foods place different from where the person said he was from. My bank ended up telling me that the check was fake. I didn't use any of the cash, so my bank just took it out like it was never there. The story does seem believable and whatnot but yes it is indeed a SCAM! Don't go through with it. They will come up with so many names and stories to make them sound real. They first contacted me by my phone number and then asked me to send their friend (who is the person wanting a "babysitter") an e-mail and they go from there. Their vocabulary and sentence structure is very unusual. I ended up just blocking them from contacting me, and a few weeks later it started happening again but they changed up the story but I noticed by how the wording was that it was almost the same person as before. This has taught me an important lesson and never will I do this again. Next time, I will do my research.

After reading all these comments, I believe I am in the process of getting scammed. I was caught up in the excitement of getting a job right away that everything sounded legit. After a lot of thinking and feeling uncomfortable when all the person talked about was a check that I have to deposit for furniture to furnish for her new home she moving into, I came across this site/blog for help. Reading all the comments and concerns, I am sure this is a scam! They also contacted me via text after requesting her contact# and said they weren't able to talk on the phone because she is hard of hearing. What should I do with the check if I do receive it? I replied to her via email and told her I declined the job. She hasn't responded yet. Is there anything else I should further do to keep me from receiving anything else from her?

If you got the check through the U.S. mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You also can alert your state Attorney General and file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

This person also contacted me from my ad on care.com. I received a check today via ups for $2750, $250 for my first week's pay and the remaining amount to pay for furniture! THIS IS A SCAM! AT A GLANCE the check looks real but if you look at the check closely the word 'authorized' is misspelled! This person goes by the name Perez Laura, 909-939-8764, I also received a text message from a Julia Allison, 509-262-3593, and I got another text message from Nikolas Muller, 913-543-1116, perfect bridal. ALL SCAMS!!! DO NOT POST YOUR PHONE NUMBER ON CARE.COM! Every single text message I have received from my ad on care.com has been a scam!!!!!!!

I am on care.come as well for childcare and have gotten text messages only by these out of state numbers looking for care for a month. For a licensed daycare, this is not some thing we typically consider anyways as we want long term clients so it's always a red flag when you get more than one of the same from different numbers. Typically always California, or East coast numbers from my experience for all services.

My 18 yr old daughter has been looking for work and filled out a profile on CARE.com. She was initially tested and asked to watch this lady's pets for $350/week. She's been very excited about this opportunity and emailing "Melissa Cardona" back and forth. We got a "Cashiers Check" check today for $2750.44. Of course I'm disgusted with this scam and scammer but I'm even more disgusted with CARE.com because this is where these scammers got my daughter's phone number!

Same here. Every email that I recieved from Care.com has been a scam. Anyone that is interested in hiring you before asking for an interview, is a scam artist.

I am CNA certified an med certified license to help out people that really need help. I answered a ad on Craigslist for a position to help out a elderly lady that was 71 years old. I was so thrilled about getting a second job for extra Christmas money for my kids. He said that his mom will be moving to my city where I'm from in a couple of weeks asoon as the realitor finds her a house closer to where I stay. He emailed me back an foward about the position. The 1st thing I noticed is that he kept txing me from a tx plus number an if yall don't know what a tx plus number is its a app that you can download an it gives you a free number to tx unlimited on all day an sometimes you can talk to the person on it for a short period time. He was misspelling a lot of words I didn't know what to think considering he is suppose to be a business man. He even sent me a picture of his suppose to be 71yr old mother behind the wheel of a car. I asked him when can we meet due to I am suppose to be taking care of his mother you would think he would want to see me in person to know that I'm not a mass murderer or anything. He said he couldn't meet me due to his nature of his job. I'm still like the money sounds good. He ask me for my name an address to send the check to an that I'll be payed 400$weekly. He sent the check for 2,500 an told me to deposit it into my account an 400 was for me plus a extra 100 for my Christmas bonus. Instead of me depositing it into my account I took it to the store where I cash all my checks at because they know me an they said that the company name Associates Tiles Inc is not a legit company. I'm like wow is that right. I'm glad I knew the girl at the counter as she was my friend to lmk that it was a scam. The scammer name or email is Gregory m Redden beware of him people it's a SCAM

These are useful details to report to the FTC. Please file a complaint 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.

Care.com reference and name Lundy Seabolt moving from Australia needing Pet Care offering to send checks in advance. I've just received another text about a similar sitiation-care.com as well ... all beyond suspicious.

I signed up with care.com and this is what happened.
I received a text requesting caregiver services for a 76 year old woman. It paid $25 an hour. I was requested to send a resume. So, I did send it. Next, I received a request for my address to send a check for a weeks wages plus money for a wheelchair to be delivered to me. I am suppose to cash the check and send the remaining balance to the wheelchair seller. I also received an email with a picture of a woman and her mother. I am aware that this is a scam. I would like to know how to report this.

These are useful details for a complaint.  Please report your experience at ftc.gov/complaint. Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We cannot address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments.

Was her name Sheilla Ross? I just received the same letter with the same details. And pic!

I got the same thing from Sheilla Ross, her moms name is Eileen. She sent a check ! I know its fake. How far did you go with her?

Has anyone received an add on Sittercity .com from Mr. Eric Phillip regarding childcare for a 3yr. Old son who's mom died recently of breast cancer and he is out of the country with the baby till October20,2015 .

I did what exactly did he say to you?

I received the exact same text. The lady's name is Jennifer Jones and her mother is Amanda, so they said. Jennifer is hard of hearing so texts and e-mails you and is supposed to be moving into the area that I live. They even called it the "wheelchair seller". They sent the picture too. I haven't gotten the check yet. I want to report this also. But I'm waiting for the check to come. I really wish there was a way to catch these creeps.

I received the same thing, from the picture,to the check to deposit and take a week's pay out and the rest go to the wheelchair seller, to the resume. I told them I don't except there offer. Her name was Jennifer Jonathan and her mom was Eileen. This Is crazy

Thank you for sharing your experiences. These are useful details for a complaint.  Please go to ftc.gov/complaint to report this. Blog comments don't go into the database that law enforcement uses.

Got exactly the same info using the name Jennifer Bell. Told her I would only consider her offer in an in-person interview. Don't expect to hear from her again but if I do I'll tell her (him) that I know it is a scam.

I received a text message and an email from the same Jennifer Smith and her mother name is Eileen.So glad I checked out this site before contacting her,I knew it seem to good to be true.

I recently went to care.com. a lady contacted me about sitting for her 66 year old mother with a wheel chair. I sent resume. the lady also claimed she was deaf and a single mother. I spoke with her for about a week by email. unfortunately I received a cashier check for 2775.00 I deposited it into my bank and it was cleared but a day after it turned out to be fraud and now I am responsible. she went by the name annie Williams. the number she contacted me by was 208-464-7708 I looked this number up and she is going by different names. kate balmforth charise Williams Rachel caughman.

Same story. The same lady (Annie Williams) contacted me on 3/20/14 from care.com about sitting for her 66 year old mother in a wheel chair. The lady said she was deaf and a single mother. I spoke with her for about a week by email. She sent me a check for $2,775.00 which I deposited. It was cleared, but turned out to be a fraud. Her telephone number was 773-765-5293, but then changed to 208-464-7708. I paid out $2,646.50 using both MoneyGram and Wells Fargo. The e-mail address she used was annie.williams0070

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