You may have read (or noticed yourself) that there’s been an increase in fraud and scams across the internet. At Sittercity, we’re committed to your trust and safety. We have a dedicated team that works hard to limit the number of scammers on our platform. That said, the strongest defense against scammers is members, like you, that know what to look for.

Below is information you need to help protect yourself against online scammers.

Never Accept Money From Someone You’ve Never Met

If someone wants you to send you a check before you start a job, that’s a MAJOR red flag. This is a go-to tactic for online scammers. It lures people into sharing sensitive personal information. Do not engage with a suspicious parent request like “we’ll pay you upfront.”

Never Send Money to Someone You’ve Never Met

The scammer may try to get you to send them money like this: A “parent” asks you to buy some job-related items. They send you a check. You deposit the check and purchase these items. You then send the remaining money from the check in the form of gift cards or wire transfer to the “parent”. A few days go by and the bank notifies you that the check is fake and voids it. You’ve now lost money for a job that wasn’t real.

What Are the Signs of a Scammer?

Scam posts look “off.” The requests are unclear and confusing—misspellings and grammar errors appear more frequently than the average post. Sometimes phone numbers and email addresses are spelled out or oddly written—they’re actively trying to fly under the radar of our monitoring systems. If something looks too good to be true in a job listing (like an abnormally high hourly rate), it probably is. Trust your gut—take caution and move on.

Only Communicate with Parents Through Sittercity

By keeping all communications on the Sittercity platform, our software is [better] able to flag messages with language and signs associated with common internet scams. Our Trust & Safety team can only help with on-platform activity.

Pay Attention to Notifications of Removals From Sittercity

We remove members from Sittercity for scam activity or other violations of our terms of use. We’ll then send a notification of that removal to anyone who messaged with that member on Sittercity. It’s important to pay attention to those notifications and follow the included instructions, every time.

Together, we’ll fight back against fraud in the Sittercity community. If you notice any of the above behavior, please report internet scams by notifying Sittercity Customer Success immediately. They’ll act swiftly to prevent other members from being scammed.

Want to know even more? Our Trust & Safety Center has additional important information regarding trust & safety on Sittercity, as well as the Federal Trade Commission’s publication on common nanny and caregiver scams.

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