How to protect yourself from scammers
Although the vast majority of people are decent and honest there are always a few who want to spoil things for the rest of us. The Internet is a fantastic resource, but it also can bring you into contact with people who try to take advantage of you. These so-called scammers or fraudsters (criminals) use the anonymity of the Internet to falsely take on the identity of people and institutions to trick others and try and steal their money.
Follow these guidelines for safe searching:
- Always use the secure Findaupair.com Messaging System for making first contact with au pairs or host families.
- Never send money to anyone – only scammers ask for money. Genuine au pairs or families will never ask you to send money to anyone for any reason. This includes a request to send a Western Union or MoneyGram Payment to yourself or a relative. Once the scammers have the Western Union Transfer Control number or the MoneyGram number they can collect the money and you will have lost your money.
- If it sounds too good to be true then it’s not true. These are almost certainly tricks to take advantage of you. For example, a monthly salary of 1500 pounds or dollars = Scammer.
- Be careful about au pairing contacts coming via Facebook or other social networks. Ask the au pair or family for their Locator ID number on Findaupair.com and always check their profile on the website. If they can’t or won’t give it to you or you can’t see their profile because it’s been deleted – it’s because they’re scammers.
- Be careful with emails starting with “Dear au pair”/”Dear family.” Scammers don’t address you personally because their email has been bulk-mailed to lots of people.
- Check out the visa requirements for any country you want to go to. As soon as you start corresponding with a potential host family, Google for their country’s Embassy website in your own country, and find out how to become an au pair in the host family’s country. Follow those instructions only. Read about the country’s rules for au pairs and be very careful if the host family suggests different conditions.
- Scammers sometimes pretend to be representatives from the authorities and use manipulated email or website addresses to ask for immigration documents, money or deposits.
- Be aware of where emails are coming from – some people may try to trick you. Check email and website addresses carefully.
- Arrange Skype interviews as a means of verifying contacts. Make sure you can see them as most scammers don’t like to show themselves in person.
At Findaupair.com we always have an open door for your security concerns. If a particular profile, message or email seems strange to you contact us. We’re always here to help you.
Did you ever have to deal with a scammer? What happened and how did you solve the situation?