Fake checks: The nanny or caregiver scam

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

Just wanted to now if scammers use EVO Bank in Spain? Because I had been asked to transfer money there.

Don't do it!!

I wish I had checked here before I put this check in my account. Now that the check is there, what can I do? The bank says it might take 7-10 days before they can find it is a bad check. If it is bad, it will take the money back. and it will cost me $16. As long as I don't pay for the wheelchair that is supposed to arrive, will I be ok?

The FTC wants you to know that counterfeit check scams are on the rise. Some fake checks look so real that bank tellers are reporting being fooled. The scammers use high quality printers and scanners to make the checks look real. Some of the checks contain authentic-looking watermarks. These counterfeit checks are printed with the names and addresses of legitimate financial institutions. And even though the bank and account and routing numbers listed on a counterfeit check may be real, the check still can be a fake. These fakes come in many forms, from cashier’s checks and money orders to corporate and personal checks. Could you be a victim? Not if you know how to recognize and report them.

What do i do if i sent the money back? Can i be held responsible?

If you deposited a fake check and sent money from that check to a scammer, the bank will contact you when it finds out that the check is fake. You will have to pay the bank back for the money you withdrew.

What ended up happening?

has anyone actually cashed the check at a check cashing and it worked? i just deposited the check and now seeing this site

The check is in my account but haven't move the money so can I do just wait and inform the police or what????
Please help me

If you think the check you deposited is fake, you could talk to someone at your bank.

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