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Au Pair Nanny Nigerian Scam Warning

Do not fall victim to Nigerian scams and check fraud. Although the scam isn't limited to parents seeking nannies and vice versa (for example, renters seeking roommates, e-Bay sellers, and online car sellers are also targeted using the same basic process), we obviously want you to be on the lookout for this criminal activity. Scammers operate under aliases and use different email addresses, bank accounts and accomplices with false identities, but the practice is now too widespread to make the documentation of known aliases helpful. We are, of course, monitoring for this practice ourselves, but please do alert us if you notice a suspicious e-mail.

The story often changes, but it always looks fishy. In a common case, the Nigerian scammer uses stolen credit cards, creates family accounts and poses as an American/Canadian family, who sends premature "job offer" emails to hire au pairs and nannies. The scammer requests the au pair/nanny's home address so he can send a bogus check (usually $3,000 - $8,000) as a supposed advance payment for a long baby sitting job (or similar au pair and nanny services), which the au pair or nanny is told to deposit in her bank account. Before the check clears the au pair/nanny bank account, the Nigerian scammer sends another email stating that his wife and daughter (or twin daughters in some cases) have died in a car accident and then he requests that the au pair/nanny send him a new check as he no longer needs au pair or nanny services. His ploy is to send you a bogus check and then have you send him a good check or other form of instant payment. He will be insistent that you urgently send a new check or wire money to a bank account (with someone else's name) or send a cash payment by Western Union (to someone else's name) or other similar means. If you tell him you're not going to send him a payment, he will become instantly threatening and even hostile. He'll claim to call the FBI or the police. Don't worry, the FBI is on our side and they are already working on this case to apprehend the entire Nigerian crime ring. Just ignore the scammer's emails. Don't write him back. If he sends you a check, do not attempt to deposit or cash it

Fraud Prevention Tips

Mostly, it comes down to being alert to this practice, and retaining a healthy air of skepticism when contacted with an offer that is a little out of the ordinary.

Schemes may be elaborate, involving supposed doctors, generals, and other false identities designed to incite validity by their mere titles. Don't be fooled or manipulated by the lies in these emails.

Trust your intuition. If someone offers to send you an advanced check for anything, whether they send you an email or call you by phone, do not respond to them.

If you receive a suspicious check, DO NOT deposit it or try to cash it.

When dealing with someone, verify the phone number and its location; verify the name of the person who answers the phone is the person who gave you the phone number. Don't ask for them by name. Let them tell you their name.

Verify the email address, physical address and identity of the person with whom you are communicating. Make sure to perform a legitimate background check before accepting work from anyone. Make sure all the details match up.

Understand that scammers will try to deceive you and prey on your hopeful and trusting nature. Be smart. Take your time and investigate things until you are 100 percent certain you can trust the person with whom you are communicating. Do not act out of fear or heightened emotions. Verify everything.


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