Although I’m a well educated college graduate, I too have almost fallen for babysitter/nanny scams. After all, like many people, I like trusting others and doing what I can to help out. But I’ll get to that later.
Anyway, I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of being contacted by three scammers this month alone, two from sittercity.com, the other from Craigslist. By the time the third scammer had contacted me, I had thoroughly disciplined myself on the wiles of scammers, so I was well aware that the individual was a scammer from the get go.
In order to assist others in protecting themselves from these types of scammers, I have made it my duty to post the email conversations that I had with these individuals here, and on various other forums. All spelling, grammatical, and general structural errors in the scammers emails are of course their own, and I didn’t bother to edit them, as this would take away from the lesson. Well, this is going to be long, so happy reading and happy learning.
Eric: Need a sitter to care for my daughter. If interested, contact me at email@example.com
Me: Hello Eric,
My name is Adele W******, and I’m a 22 year old college graduate.
I have a great deal of experience in the field of babysitting/nannying, including in the area of caring for infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers.
****various other details that I'm opting to leave out so as not to bore you readers to death with the story of my life and my various expertise and experience as a caretaker****
If this position is still available, and you would like to consider me as a prospective sitter, than I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to stop by for an interview anytime, and to provide any necessary references. Thank you for your time and your consideration.
Eric: Thanks for your prompt response regards my post for a babysitter.My daughter name is Vera and she's only 2 years old,Porty trained,never allergic,free eater and lover of animals.I will be needing the care from 11th June through 11th July (1 Month).Monday till Friday 5:00PM-8:00PM (3Hrs)and the care will be either at my rented suite or at your residence provided her comfort is guaranteed while under your care,i will be responsible to pick and drop her at the stated time frame if you choose your place.
Do you have fingerprints verified by the States?If YES you could provide me with the # for background & criminal record checks.If NO a review of application & recommendation from your reference(s) will do.How conducive is your residence?b/c i might not have the chance to interview or check your home due to my tight schedule.I'm offering $300 per week.
Let me know if everything sounds satisfactory,so we can proceed further.
I look forward hearing back from you.
Me: Good evening Eric,
I’d love to meet your little girl Vera, and I can most definitely care for her during the given time period or longer if you wish. I’d actually prefer to watch her at your place, as mine tends to be busy. I understand that your schedule is tight, but I would like the opportunity to meet with you and your daughter before you settle on me as a sitter. I think both you and your daughter would feel more at ease if this were the case. So if you do manage to find any free time in your schedule, no matter the time or date, just let me know when and where you would like us to meet. I’d greatly appreciate it. Also, you can contact Mrs. X at (XXX)-XXX-XXXX or at *****@yahoo.com. I’ve watched her children since I was 14 years old. I’ve informed her that you may be calling, so she’ll be willing to provide you with any necessary information that you request pertaining to my “sitter skills.” I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to consider me as your daughter’s caretaker, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
He never responded after this last message of mine. When I first got his message, I was surprised that it was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. I figured he was a high end working business man living in the city, so I expected his grammar and spelling to be decent at best. However, I attributed his grammatical errors and the like to him simply being too busy to spell check, and I must admit that I pretty much skimmed his email at the onset rather than clearly reading it, so I think my mind cognitively corrected some of the less obvious errors as I read, making it seem less grammatically terrible. At any rate, while this individual never got as far as sending me a check and asking me to wire money to one place or another, in retrospect, his grammatical errors alone are enough to send red flags. More so, nobody would ever entrust an individual with his or her child without first interviewing him/her. A child should be the most important thing in a parent's life, so to say that "you're schedule is too tight to conduct an interview or to check the sitter's residence" is simply preposterous.
Well, on to the next scammer, this time, a woman (or a man claiming to be a woman, whichever floats your boat). Below is her actual sittercity.com post.
Name: Gayle G.
Title: Babysitter Needed
Description: I need the service of a good babysitter to help watch my adorable daughter on daily basis. Interested applicant should contact me.
Location: New York, New York 10011
Rate: $15 / Hour - $25 / Hour
Job Start Date: June 2012
Skills & certifications: First Aid
Number of children: 1
Ages of children: Toddlers (2-3 years old)
Education level requested: High School
Me: Hello Gayle,
My name is Adele W******, and I’m a 22 year old college graduate.
If this position is still available, and you would like to consider me as a prospective sitter, than I can be reached by email at email@example.com. I’ll be happy to stop by for an interview at your convenience, and to provide any necessary references. Thank you for your time and your consideration.
Gayle G.: Get back to me here with your resume (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thank you.
Me: Good morning Gayle,
Attached you will find a copy of my resume as requested. It doesn’t include any of my babysitting/nannying jobs or my other voluntary work with children, as these were off-the-book employment types. Briefly, my first “official” sitter opportunity began when I was 14 years old. I cared for a 6 month old boy, M******, along with his 1 year old cousin A*****, for my entire summer vacation and during my other school breaks. M****** is now 8 years old, and I’ve practically spent every summer looking after him. I’ve also cared for M*****, M******’s younger sister, since she was about 3 months old during my summer and winter breaks. She’s now 3, and I’ve looked after both children together. Mrs. X, whose contact number and email address are listed on my resume, is the mother of these two children. Feel free to contact her at anytime if you’d like for her to confirm this information.
Thank you for your time in considering me as a prospective sitter. I look forward to hearing from you soon on this matter.
Enjoy the rest of your day,
I am glad for your quick response and for your interest in taking care of my little daughter. You seems to be a very hard working lady from the little i read about you which also portrays your love for little children and this has convinced me alot that my daughter is going to be in a safe hand and i wouldn't want to lose you to someone else and for this reason i wouldn't mind making your payment upfront before my arrival to the States if the negotiation goes well between us and again to show how serious I am.
I am presently in Great Britain on a vacation leave and i will like to know for sure how interested you are in watching my daughter so I will be looking forward to that as soon as we return back to the States in second week of June.
Honestly it would have been nice to talk over the phone but i will so much appreciate if emailing is used as the best form of communication for now due to the network problems here in the last few days which i hope will be restored soon.
Anyway we are going to meet first for an interview in a public place of your choice two days before you start watching my daughter as I want you to start work immediately upon my arrival and I can assure you that everything is going to be fine as you will have nothing to worry about her.
Michelle is healthy and loving, she has no allergy and does not have schedule for anything such as nap and I am definitely sure you are going to like her when you start babysitting her and by then you are going to know better about the loving family you are yet to start working for.
I am going to pay $15 per hour for a start but I promise there will be an increment as time goes on, base on satisfaction of your good job towards my lovely daughter. And again you are to babysit her Mon-Fri from 9:00am - 3:00pm and your duties includes feeding, bathing, changing of diaper and clothes when dirty. I want all terms agreed before my arrival.
Do get back to me with the following info below if you are okay with the details above:
Your full name
I hope to read from you soon, thanks in anticipation,
Despite being riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, I still had yet to educate myself by this point on the ploys of scammers. So I dismissed them, and to be honest, they weren't all that bad. After all, I know full well that not everybody is great, or even decent, at English and writing. I spend time editing the papers of my friends, so I know that some people can have serious issues with writing. At any rate, I was simply delighted that this individual wanted to hire me. I was more so elated that she was going to send me my first payment upfront. Being financially strapped at the time, and having college loans to pay off, I was pretty happy that I would soon have money in my pocket. I could finally pay off my bills and have money to go out to the movies, dinner, and other outings with my friends (yes, I'm THAT broke right now, and it kind of sucks, lol). It was good pay for a position that I had desired, and I had already begun to plan activities that Michelle and I could do, including setting up a playdate between her and the 3 year old girl that I frequently cared for. I even went so far as to almost mentioning the upcoming birthday party of this 3 year old girl, and asking this Gayle character if I could bring along her daughter to said party. Believing this individual to be honest and sincere, I responded with the information she had asked for. So, let’s get on with the conversation, shall we?
Me: I’m glad that you’ve chosen to consider me seriously as a prospective sitter for your little girl Michelle, and I assure you that I’m serious about committing myself to the care of your daughter. The working hours, duties, and starting pay is perfect, and I can also work any extra hours and weekend evenings if you’d like me to do so on occasion. Here is the information that you have requested:
Full Name: Adele W****** (I can bring my New York State ID, permit, and passport to confirm this)
Home Number: (XXX)-XXX-XXXX
Cell Phone Number: (XXX)-XXX-XXXX
I look forward to meeting with you and your daughter on your return. Enjoy your vacation, and feel free to contact me with any other questions or concerns. Once more, thank you for considering me as a sitter for your daughter. I would love to have this opportunity, and to spend time playing with and educating your little girl.
All the best,
Gayle Griffin: Hello Adele
I am glad for the quick response and I will be looking forward to when you will start working with my lovely daughter as soon as I return from my vacation trip.
Adele can I really trust you? Because I am going to be sending you a check that will not only cover your first week payment as charged and agreed as i will want you to help me send part of the payment to a furniture company I bought some furnitures from to enable them go ahead with the shipment before my arrival.
I will like to know if I can entrust you to get this done for me as i want the furniture's delivered to my home before my arrival to the States on June 9th and we can meet on June 10th if that's okay by you as i want you to start the duty post on June 11th.
And again you will only be sending the part payment to the furniture company via western union within the states after deducting your first week payment. I wait for your quick responses and thank you for your usual cooperation.
Hope to meet you soon,
I’ll be totally honest. This message didn’t sit right with me from the get go. Didn’t she have family members or friends who could handle such a task for her? After all, she said she lived in the US, and was only vacationing in London. I therefore figured that she would have had somebody else who was in the “States” to deal with such a task, surely a family member or friend who was of course more reliable than me. More so, why couldn’t she simply write two checks? Surely that would be much easier than doing as she had suggested in the message. While these and other questions ran through my mind, I eventually managed to come up with plausible reasons as to why she couldn’t carry out the above suggestions that I had inquired of myself. After informing my friends and sisters of this, they simply thought that it was good that she would trust me. They felt it was a good way to start this relationship on a trusting note. In short, I was simply determined and desperate to find a job, so I put all suspicion to bed and responded as follows (as mentioned, I tend to be pretty trusting, honest, and open with people, even total strangers).
Me: Dear Gayle,
I can assure you that I am a trustworthy individual. If there’s one thing that I try to practice diligently, it’s to treat others as I would like to be treated, and to deal honestly and respectably with those around me. I’d have absolutely no problem helping you with the furniture payment. In fact, it would be my pleasure, and I’m delighted that you would entrust me with such an important task. Just send me the precise details of what I must do in order to make this furniture payment, and I’ll do my absolute best to quickly and effectively carry out said directions. Also, a June 10th meeting sounds great, and I can most certainly begin my sitter duties on Monday, June 11th. As always, I look forward to hearing from you soon with respect to this matter.
She never responded to this last post. At this point in time, I was still unaware of the ploys of these babysitter/nanny scammers. So being anxious about the status of my position for this employment opportunity, I emailed her the following message about 5 days later.
Me: Good morning Gayle,
As we haven’t been in contact for a while, I’d like to inquire about the status of this employment position, or if you would still like me to assist you in making the furniture payment. I understand that you mentioned having networking issues on your end, so perhaps this lack of communication is nothing more than that. At any rate, I’ve been delaying my job search and my application to other prospective families who require a sitter/nanny since you responded to me first, and since you seemed serious and sincere about entrusting me with the position of caring for your daughter. So, if you’re still serious about hiring me as a sitter, then I’d appreciate it if you’d definitively let me know asap at your convenience. That way, we can begin to arrange a time and place for my interview this Sunday.
Similarly, if you no longer require my services as a sitter, then I’d also appreciate being informed of this asap at your convenience. I’ve already had a past experience in which I was communicating via email with an individual who wanted me to care for his child (in regards to this Eric character above). However, several emails latter, he simply never responded to my final email with regards to the position. Needless to say, it was rather disheartening since I suspended my job search under the impression that this individual was serious about hiring me. This is just my bit of a pretty bad experience. In short, if you no longer require my services as a sitter, than I’d like to be informed of such in a formal email rather than simply having to wait it out over a long period of no communication. Of course, I could just be getting worked up over nothing more than a networking issue, and I certainly hope that this is the case.
At any rate, I can still assist you with the furniture payment if you’d like me to, and I don’t require any up-front or in advance payment for my first week. To be honest, I’d just be happy to secure myself a job for the immediate summer, and hopefully thereafter into the fall if you still require my services into the year. I look forward to hearing from you soon with regards to this matter. I hope you enjoy the remainder of your vacation.
As you can guess, she never responded to this message either. As upset as I was at the time, I’m glad she didn’t, as I’m sure I probably would have gone all the way with this scam.
I finally went on Craigslist to search for childcare jobs. I clicked on the link about scams, and thoroughly read through the post. In doing so, I came across an actual scammer email that was similar to the email I had received from Gayle. Of course there were notable differences, but this post was enough to open my eyes to the world of internet scams. From there, I began to thoroughly educate myself on babysitter/nanny scams by reading posts on various websites and forums. Now that I’ve become decently disciplined with regards to this subject, I’m ready to educate others. I hope that my experience with scammers can be helpful to other individuals out there.
After reading up on scammers, their strategies, and how to avoid them, I posted a childcare add on Craigslist. My AD itself is not important, so I won’t include it here, but my first response to it was. Here’s the email correspondence that I had with an individual named Tim Best. I knew he was a scammer from the get go, but I decided to engage him nonetheless. While I had originally intended to get him to send me the fake check so that I could bring it to the authorities, I eventually chose a different path. Anyway, here’s what “Tim Best” had to say.
Tim Best (email@example.com): My name is Tim and my wife name is Nancy..We are Seriously looking for a Nanny/housekeeper/Cleaner/personal assistant...Kindly respond back to us if you are open to any of this job position and also drop your City and zipcode to see if you are close to us...Hope to read back from you soon
Tim & Nancy
Me: Good morning Tim,
I'm greatly interested in the nanny position you are offering, and I can also do some housekeeping and perhaps the PA position as well. I live at ******, but I'm willing to travel up to 12 miles for any position I may be offered by a family. Thank you for your time and your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Time Best: Hey,
Thanks so much for responding back to my email.Am Tim and My wife's name is Nancy, she's 5 months pregnant and this is her first baby. We are relocating to Brooklyn, NY from Germany...I will be coming there to work on contract basis with United States Environmental Protection Agency on a private research work So i need someone who could help me take care of house by doing some house work while am off to work.Someone that will also help in running some errands. I will be offering you $15/hr, i will be needing your services for 5hours per day at any suitable time of yours, Mondays through Fridays. I believe you are fit for this position in as much you will prove yourself to be a reliable and good person. Kindly get back to us if you are really interested in working with me and my wife. Hope to read from you back soon.
Thanks and God Bless
Tim & Nancy
Me: Hey Tim,
I just have a few questions to ask regarding this employment position. I'd like to explore it fully and to get as much details as possible from you and your wife before I make my final decision as to whether or not I will be a good fit for this job. I'd appreciate it if you would kindly get back to me at your convenience with the detailed answer to all of these questions.
1. When exactly will you be arriving to the USA, specifically Brooklyn, for your contract work?
2. What exactly will you be doing at the EPA, and why do you have to relocate to the USA at this time? How long will you be staying in Brooklyn?
3. At what address will your home be located at? I'd like to have a feel for the area and neighborhood at which you will be staying.
4. What will be the exact nature of my duties? Will I primarily function as a housekeeper, a PA, or a nanny once your baby arrives? I'll admit that I prefer the latter, but I can work fine as a PA and light housekeeper as well.
5. Do you know the gender of your unborn child? If so, have you selected a name for him/her?
Thank you. And all the best,
Tim Best: Thanks so much for getting back to me...Here is the address of the apt we are relocating too below:
Avenue X and East 3rd Street Brooklyn, NY 11223
Kindly get back to me if you are close to the address, if not i can takecare transportation fees as well..
Thanks so much for working with us..
Tim & Nancy
Notice how he didn’t bother to actually answer any of my other questions aside from the address one. If he was serious about hiring me, if he was even being truthful about his employment position, he would have had no problem answering my questions, and questioning me further before choosing to hire me on the get-go. These scammers are just way too urgent and eager to entrap people in their web of lies and deceit. Anyway, I responded as follows, not bothering to bring up his unwillingness to answer the other questions.
Me: This place isn't too far from my location. I can provide my own transportation to the given address.
Tim Best: Hi,
Thanks for getting back to us.We have a financier that is based in the states and he will be handling the payment and some other expenses, so he will be the one that will be taking care of your the payment, I will instruct him to pay for the first week before my arrival so as to secure your service, actually i should have paid for more weeks but i will extend the payment if am satisfy with your service after the first week. My financier will be making out a check to you before my arrival, you will be receiving a check of $1,350 out which you will deducting your pay for the first week and you will be using the remaining to buy foodstuffs and other things needed in the house,you will getting this foodstuff on the day of our arrival which is 24th of this month Actually all flights from Germany arrives at nights so you will be getting the foodstuff in the morning and making all other preparations. I will also instruct my estate agent to mail the keys of the apartment to you so that you can do all other necessary preparations before we arrive,I will also email you the shopping list. You have to get all this shopping before our arrival so that we wont have to start running around when we arrive, So my financier would be needing the following Information to make out the payment
Name to be on Check, Address, City, State, Zip code and your cell number
All i need from you is total honesty and sincerity. I know you will be committed to the work,You will also have a nice period of working with my wife. I will be waiting to hear from you.
Thanks and God bless
Tim & Nancy
I eventually grew tired of toying with him, so I abruptly sent him this message.
Me: After carefully considering my options with regards to this matter, I’ve opted to do the following. If you had indeed thoroughly read my post on Craigslist, then you would have noticed this essential bit near the end of my AD:
“For all you scammers out there, I'm well aware of your MO. I've already had the unfortunate displeasure of being contacted by two scammers over the course of this month. While I was being honest and sincere with these individuals, earnestly responding to their posts for a caretaker, I eventually managed to see through both of their ploys. In short, I'm a well educated college graduate who has thoroughly disciplined myself on the wiles of scammers, and I can see you guys coming from a mile away, so don't waste your time attempting to contact me if you're up to some wrongful gimmick or another.”
In short, I’m well aware that you are one such scammer, and I’d greatly appreciate it if you would simply stop contacting me. I detest wasting my precious time conversing with individuals who aren’t sincere about offering me a legitimate position, and who are more so attempting to steal money from me.
I mean, nothing gives you the right to treat people like this, and to get them caught up in your web of deceit and criminal activity. The individuals whom you scam are honest, hard-working, and sincere people with family, friends, and a life who are simply trying to make a decent living. To exploit their intrinsic nature to trust and want to help those in need is just plain despicable and downright unforgivable.
Perhaps if you realized the hell that people have to go through to get their lives and money back once they fall for one of these scams, maybe you would give up this contemptible practice. These people have families to care for, goals and dreams that they’d like to achieve, and lives that they’d actually like to enjoy. It’d be very difficult for them to do so once they get caught up in a scam like this. No matter their age, profession, or personality, stealing from those who are naïve, good-natured, or simply uneducated with regards to the ploys of you scammers is loathsome and pathetic.
While I had planned to simply play along with you until you sent me your check before sending it off to the authorities, I opted against this choice. I simply don’t want to be bothered with such a task at the moment, as I still have to spend my time looking for legitimate employment. Even so, any other scammers who contact me will not be so fortunate as to attain this undeserving grace. I’ll work my *** off with the authorities to make sure any further scammers who deal with me are properly traced and hopefully caught, in one way or another.
Although I’m not bothering with the authorities in your case, I will take the liberty of posting my conversation with you to several websites that educate individuals on the strategies of scammers. Hopefully, these educated individuals will stand a fair chance against you and your scamming buddies. I also hope these sites have some connection to the authorities, as you in no wise deserve to be totally “let off the hook” for this.
In short, as unlikely as this request might be, I urge you to stop your wrongdoing. One day you will have to answer for the financial crimes that you have committed, if not in this life, then the next. So just try and do something positive with your life instead of trying to entrap earnest and trusting individuals in the middle of your wrong doings.
Well gee, I've run out of steam for the moment. Anyway, I hope you take this message to heart, and choose do the right thing. So... yeah, have an awesome day I guess, lol.
From a wise-enough young lady,
He has yet to respond to this latest message, and I suspect that he won’t. As a closing note, I urge my fellow babysitters, nannies, job seekers, and others to be wary of these scammers. I’m not going to bother listing their red flags, since they are available on many sites, but I urge you to educate yourself on their ploys and identifying marks by visiting credible websites and forums that discuss these matters. I just hope that the actual email conversations I had with these people will be of some help to those who seek knowledge or advice on this matter. Best regards, and be safe on the internet!