The Babysitter Scam
Scammers have no shame! Are you a babysitter, nanny, or other kind of caregiver? You may have used websites like Care.com or Sittercity.com. Be warned, scammers are out there waiting to take advantage of you. Hundreds of complaints about scammers cheating caregivers have been filed with the FTC.
The Babysitter 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 the 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 scammers avoid detection.
How to protect yourself from these scammer:
If a potential client urges you to transfer money using a service like Western Union or MoneyGram, it is 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.
– Source FTC
Here is a news report of one person that figured the scam out just in time.