Are you a babysitter, nanny, or another type of caregiver? If so, you’ve more than likely used different websites like craigslist.com or care.com to find potential clients.
Although these websites are great resources, they also provide an avenue for scammers to trick you into depositing a fake check.
Here’s how the scam works.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the scammer will reply to a listing you posted onto a website by saying they are looking to hire you. They’ll say they live out-of-state, but are moving to the area soon. But here is where it gets suspicious.
The scammer will ask you to accept a delivery of certain items that you will need in order to take care of their loved one. They’ll send you a check to deposit into your account and then have you send it to a third party to pay for the goods. As payment for your services, you get to keep some of the money.
The only problem is the check and third party are fake.
It could take weeks for a bank to realize the check is fraudulent. The money you sent to the third party will be gone. Catching the person who received the cash is difficult because they can pick up the money from a different money transfer location than the one you sent it to.
But there are ways to protect yourself. BBB offers these tips:
Don’t send money to strangers. It’s common sense, but many people forget sending cash to someone they don’t know can lead to disasters. Remember, depositing money from a stranger can be just as bad.
Never share bank information. If a client wants your bank account number in order to transfer funds, don’t give it out.
Research the person contacting you. Looking up your potential client could reveal they have done this in the past. Search what the email or text message said. You could even try looking up their name, address, and phone number as well. The results may reveal you’re dealing with a scammer.