Au Pairs: Beware of Scams

by cv harquail on March 26, 2012

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 —


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


AfricanAupair March 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm

This post really hits home.Before I signed up with a US agency someone tried to scam into sending $2000 to a “lawyer” through western union.I had registered on a free aupair service and a family had shown interest and we then began to email back and forth.They sent me pictures of themselves and thier kids.I started getting suspicious when they called me and could hardly speak English even though they had claimed to be from England(born and bred).When they asked me to send money via Western Union I knew it was a scam because there was no way a family who was willing to pay me 400pounds a week would require me to pay them all this money.What really put the nail in the coffin was when they said they needed the money to arrange my visa!!!As if you can get a visa for someone at an embassy when they aren’t even there!!!

PA AP Mom March 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm

It is so unfortunate that people try to take advantage of others with these scams!!!! I hope all potential APs heed your warnings.

Taking a Computer Lunch March 28, 2012 at 6:54 am

I would say to follow this advice in general. If something seems to be to good to be true, then it usually is. I’m still dealing with the reprecussions of an AP who gave out her cell phone number to several advertisers – five years later! Before you give out personal information – or send your hard-earned money – ask yourself if it seems suspicious. Talk to your parents or HP about anything that does not seem right.

lifestartsnow March 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm

i really hope no more future APs fall for these scams. it’s just sad how some very low people play with young girls/boy’s hopes in becoming an AP.

LSfutureaupair March 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm

This is totally true, a few months ago, a woman named Susan Foster send me an e-mail asking to be their au pair, also she said me: Don´t worry about visa, because if you send me USD3000 we can process it.
I am applying to be an au pair through an agency, and of course, I did´nt send any money, but i don´t know how “that person” could have known that i am applying to be an au pair in the USA. It certainly was a very strange situation.

spanishaupair April 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

I’m a spanish girl who has been an aupai twice in Europe and going to be third time next summer. As I’m not going through agencies I’m used to this type of emails, thanks god I had never sent any money. When you received an email for a potential hostfamily you have to look for somethings:
1. If you have ever contacted by website with that family, in general no families sent emails before knowing if you are interested.
2. How much money they offer. Aupair is not a very well paid job (at least in cash I know you received other things) and when you received and email offering 2000$ or pounds a month plus 500 a wek is a scam probably, in the websites for finding aupair jobs you can find the usual payment in each country as in Europe is more flexible than USA.

And obviously never sent money to any “agency, lawyer”. And if you are not sure about the family if you search the name/email address in google usually appear in the scam sites.

Thanks for your blog is wonderful and sorry for my english

Paul July 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Hi, my name is Paul, and I want to say that there are benefits of going though an agency but we are a host family that would rather invest the large cost of joining angency (we could argue that agencies are also a problem driving up costs) into the Au Pair. 3000-6000 in their pocket helps them more than into the owner of an agency. We are on our 3rd Au Pair and pro and cons to both sides. Everyone needs to be careful!

A Host Mom July 31, 2012 at 10:51 am

Paul: What you are proposing is illegal. Moreover, since I’m assuming you have children, would you really suggest your child partake in illegal activity for some extra money? While it is true that the au pair upfront fees are disproportionately high, I would never suggest my daughter au pair in another country without the protections and safeguards of an agency.

Poppy November 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Hey everyone!

It’s good that I have stumble upon this. I’m new to the Au Pair bussiness.
I recveived a email from ‘host family’
Amaia_Lizarralde. I googled the name with out the _
And I found that it’s a actress. After that I
Looked through her facebook, it looked
Legit. And than something told me to google
The email adress… BAM! Scam exposed!
With that my heart melted because it was ‘600 us dollars’
And where I’m from it’s a lot of money! But
I’m also relieved for pages like these, that expose
The scams! Thank you so much!

Liliya November 13, 2012 at 6:00 am

Hello, all! I join to the opinion about reliable au pair agencies. Recently I was also contacted by a host family that offered a nice position, hard to belive, we had a nice exchange of e mails and pictures. I tried to check photos in google pics and could not. Later on I was contacted by the lawyer and asked to make a deposti of total 620 pounds, that is pretty much. So, please be careful, I guess once the money is mentioned, it is a natural scam no more, no less.

mbally December 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I just want to know if the person who hired me as an au pair is a scam or not,Her name is Vera Vanderwall from USA,she’s using The Nanny Agency it legal?

dorsi December 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Oh Yes! If you google her name, you will find that she is advertising on all kinds of terrible websites (many of which are blocked at my work because they are “malicious”. This is not how legitimate people hire Au Pairs. Remember, that there is no legal way to come to the US to work as an Au Pair without an Au Pair agency. The Nanny Agency, Inc is only in Illinois, and she is looking for someone in New Jersey. It doesn’t add up. Please don’t send her any money!

Also, her English is bad — she states that the job has “feedings included” — if English is not your first language, you might not notice that, but no one would say that. This has scam written all over it.

jeshali mae b. manansala January 8, 2013 at 4:26 am

hi…i am sha from the philippines. I have a host family who wants me to be a nanny of her 7year old son in United kingdom. However, I have this doubt in my mind because she wants me send her money to give her assistance with regards to my paper. however, i am planning to send her only 120USD and she agreed about it but she wants me to send it to her brother in Lagos, Nigeria because her brother owed her money and she wants that her brother will pay everything for my papers in the agency that she referred to me which is the ALL AROUND TRAVELS. I really wonder why is there a need to send the money there well in fact she’s from UK and she’s the one who will follow up my papers. Is this a SCAM too? Is the Agency Mentioned a licensed agency for the VISA? thanks a lot

SingleHM January 8, 2013 at 6:24 pm

That is a scam. Do not send any money.

Doan Hoa January 19, 2013 at 3:09 am

hi all! i have host family want me becamse her au pair. he said with me that contact with please help me ! that agency can help me visa J1 because they said me send 850 $ . i dont know much about nannyagencyinc. please tell me . is that the scam?

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