Scam of the day – August 6, 2015 – Care.com babysitting scam

Care.com is a legitimate website where caregivers can connect with families that need their services.  Recently, however, care.com was abused by a scammer who almost succeeded in stealing thousands of dollars from an unwary St. Louis teenager looking for a job as a baby sitter.  The young girl signed up on Care.com and soon thereafter received emails from two women who said that they were moving to St. Louis and wanted to hire her.  The women both said they were very busy and needed to have her buy some clothes, toys and other goods so that items would be there when the women got to St. Louis.  One woman sent a check for $2,700 and the other sent a check for $1,970.  In each case, the women told the teenager to make the necessary purchases and wire the remaining money back to them.  This is a standard ploy used in many different scams where a bogus counterfeit check is sent for more than the amount owed is sent to the victim who deposits the check and then ends up sending his or her own money when the check ends up bouncing.  Some people, thinking they are being smart wait a few days for the check to clear during which time the bank provides provisional credit which may make it appear that the check has cleared, however when the check ultimately bounces, the victim is left having sent his or her own money to the scammer.  Fortunately, in this case, the teenager’s mother Coleen Carroll recognized the telltale signs of a scam and was able to save her daughter from becoming a scam victim.

TIPS

Care.com and other similar websites monitor communications between people using their website, however, the scammers were able to convince the teenager to communicate with them by off site emails which is often a sign of a scam.  Also, when hiring anyone for a caregiver job, you would want to meet with them personally.  You should be skeptical of someone who is willing to hire someone for such a position without ever meeting him or her.  In addition, never accept a check for more than what is owed you with the understanding that you will send your check for the balance.   This is always a scam.

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