Dear Prospective Au Pairs — always always always check out an offer you receive that does not come through an approved, well-known au pair agency.
There are too many scammers out there who seem to be offering great positions, but who in fact just want to lure you into sending them money.
Last week we got an email from Katrina, an au pair who was just about ready to send money:
“Their lawyer emailed me a contract and i signed it, but now..they are asking me to make a deposit of “the stipulated financial requirement of 750 00GBP via any Western Union/money gram agent”.
She went on to write:
“I’m confused a little, because 750 00GBP-is $1,200 00USS. I do have this amount and i’m ready to pay. But I am not sure that I’ll be in able to stay in the UK… what if I have some documentation problems? Would I lose the whole amount?”
Of course, I did a quick search on some of the language that this au pair candidate quoted in her email, and came up with these two versions of an au pair scam.
Then there’s the other common scam, where a really nice host dad or mom posts a position on some open jobs board or au pair chat page. We just had someone post this scam on the blog this week!
I am Mr Declan Carter, 45 Years Old from United Kingdom I work as an Engineer manager in United Kingdom and I don’t usually stay home unless during weekends. My contact address is 108 Spring Avenue, Hampton Vale, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. PE7 8HW and my phone number is +447024085632. I will like you to know that I have just two kids which names are James and Mark and there ages are 3 years and 5 years old.I want an Au-pair nanny for them because they are the only one left at home after their Mother divorced me for another man…I want you to know that i am very happy to hear from you again which shows that you are eager to join my family and i bet you;you wont regret being with my family..I have a very loving family & will welcome the right candidate & make them feel very welcome and respected in my house.
Many folks would see right though the bad grammar and odd information in this posting, and recognize it as a scam. But if English is not your primary language, and if you are naive, gullible, or hopeful, it’s all to easy to think this is real.
Heck, back in 2001 I almost opened a back account for a nice Nigerian man who needed help transferring funds out of the country. That was before there were so many pages listing scam after scam so that we could check before we acted on an offer that seemed too good to be true. Now, we know to check (right?)
Here’s what I replied to Katrina–
DONT SEND THEM MONEY!!!!!!! THis is a scam, a way to cheat young women out of their money. Here is a link to an explanation —
DONT SEND THEM MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you want to be an au pair in the UK, find a reputable agency. I repeat, find an agency with a good reputation.
best of luck to you–
cvh aka au pair mom
The typos and all those exclamation points might have made her wonder if I was legit, but let’s hope she takes my advice.
Image: Bike Scam ?? Some rights reserved by disrupsean