Hiring a Nanny from Craigslist & Other Online Sites

hiring a nanny using craigslistMany people are familiar with online classified ad sites, such as Craigslist. These are low-cost, easy to use, and work much like posting an ad on a college bulletin board or in the local newspaper. These sites also advertise local nannies and families looking for nannies—and while these sites may be good resources for many things, there are two main drawbacks pertaining to hiring a nanny from Craigslist and other sites: time and safety.

Families looking for nannies or other household help via classified ads can expect to find it to be very time-consuming. Just as with a newspaper classified ad, the burden is fully on the seeker to do all the work; all the contacting, interviewing, checking and vetting, etc.

Safety is another key issue. Those advertising on these sites have paid to place an ad; they could be anyone. In addition, when using internet classified ads, anyone can view these ads and access your information. It is never wise to give out personal data (name, telephone number, address, email address) in a public area. These ad sites are not protected by passwords and are unsupervised for the most part. In contrast, traditional nanny hiring agencies and most reputable online hiring sites do not allow your information to be seen by the general public. It is always better to use an experienced and reliable website with a good reputation than a listing or online classified ad site—especially if you are hiring for the first time.

There have been many news articles on the safety issues of hiring someone using a site like Craigslist. Although the site, and many articles, warn the users of criminal misuse and instead encourage those who find jobs on the site to meet in a public place, many users do not heed the warning. There have been cases where criminals have posed as babysitters. Obviously, care should be used if posting an online classified ad, just as you would be vigilant about the candidates who contacted you about a newspaper ad or from a bulletin board. With your family’s care, no amount of precaution can be considered too much.

For more information, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Avoid Nanny Scams – Use a Nanny Agency

Most people are now aware that if they receive an email from someone claiming to be a Nigerian prince who wants to give them thousands of dollars in exchange for their bank account information, they know it’s a scam. Unfortunately, many scams still exist that are not as well-known, and some of those scams target nannies and babysitters. These scams are usually done through email, or even online through Craigslist.

The most recent one to make headlines was from May of 2012, when a University of Missouri student was bilked out of $2000, all because she thought she was getting a job as a nanny. According to an article from the Better Business Bureau, the student used an online resource site that connects families with potential household employees. She was contacted by the scammer via email, and after some exchanges the job was offered. The student’s bank account was wired a fraudulent check for $2,775, most of which was to be saved to buy a wheelchair for the scammer’s son ($375 was a supposed advance on the student’s pay). Later the student was informed that the wheelchair would be purchased elsewhere, and was instructed to withdraw $2,400 from her account and wire it to a wheelchair dealer in Texas. The next day, the bank informed the student that the $2,775 deposit was a fake, and now she had to pay back the bank the $2,400 that had been withdrawn.

But it’s not only those looking for employment that get scammed; families looking to hire someone have also fallen victim to scams from people pretending to be nannies. According to this article on fraudguides.com, these scammers develop a relationship with a family, convincing them of their eligibility to work in the U.S., and finally getting a job offer. But then the scammer will take advantage of the trust they’ve built up, asking for money to buy their plane ticket, or for a sick family member, etc.

The Better Business Bureau offers these tips on avoiding childcare scams:

• Be cautious if a “parent” wants to communicate only via text messaging or emails.  He or she might be trying to hide a foreign accent or withhold a phone number.

• Look out for emails or texts containing poor English or grammatical errors.

• Be wary of anyone who is hesitant to give out personal information, such as place of employment, address, names of friends or other references. He or she might be fearful of a potential employee checking out his or her background.

• Beware of “sob stories” or anything else that appears to try to get sympathy.

• If a potential employer or employee asks you for money for any reason, it is likely a scam.  Never transfer money to anyone you do not know.

Of course the best way to avoid scams is to use a reputable nanny agency. For nannies, an agency will match you up with a trusted family that will be the best fit for you and the family. For families, an agency will do pre-employment screening, background checks, check references, conduct face-to-face interviews, and many other services to ensure your family’s safety and satisfaction.

For recommendations on using a nanny agency, please click here.