INA Blog Avoiding Nanny Hiring Scams (1)By Jackie Edwards

In the first quarter of 2022 alone, around 14 million people were exposed to job-related scams. With the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reporting that unsuspecting job seekers lost $68 million due to fake business and job opportunities, it’s imperative to be aware of the common types of scams out there, even when looking for childcare jobs. For prospective nannies, knowing the signs of common scams and how to avoid them can not only save you time, but it can prevent falling victim to financial loss while searching for the perfect job

A variety of job scams

Generally speaking, job scams can present themselves in a variety of different ways, making it crucial to know the signs. According to one CNN Business post, some job scams will try to gain access to your personal information, while others might solicit payments from you. A lack of professionalism is just one major sign that can identify a potential scam. “If a job ad is using too-good-to-be-true terms like: ‘quick money,’ or ‘unlimited earnings potential,’ or ‘laptop for free’ and has very few skill requirements … and a lot of caps and images to distract you, it just doesn’t’ come across professionally,” said CEO and founder of FlexJobs Sara Sutton. 

While such information can certainly apply to nanny job postings, there are additional signs to keep an eye out for. The Federal Trade Commission highlights a few that relate to nanny and caregiver job scams in particular — being offered a job and hired without an interview (in person or on the phone) and receiving a check before you begin working are just a couple red flags to watch out for. Regarding fake check scams, the FTC notes: “The person hiring you might say it’s your first paycheck, or that it’s to buy supplies or for expenses related to caring for their loved one.” Later, however, it’s explained that you may be asked to send part of the money to someone else, or return it, with excuses ranging from overpaying you to needing the money for some emergency. “The check is fake, and by the time the bank realizes it, the scammer has your money, and the bank will want you to repay the money you withdrew,” the FTC states.

The prevalence of digital scams

The internet can be a fantastic way to utilize online resources and find a fantastic job. However, it’s imperative to take into account the fact that scammers often make use of online job listings and even social media to lure in victims. Virginia nanny Kattia Morales delves into the nature of a scam that she came across online while searching for childcare jobs. “He was very generous and very trusting, offering me everything just like that without knowing me,” Morales said of a man who had messaged her. He had told her that his family was moving in from out of state and that he’d be willing to hire her without an interview. “It was a very weird situation,” she said, having ceased communication with the man and reporting the messages. Morales’ experience highlights just one way in which childcare jobs can present, and underlines the necessity for heightened vigilance.

It’s imperative to realize that one prominent issue surrounding online job scams is the very real potential for digital payment fraud. Whether via a potential ‘employer’ that requests money to be sent online before the work even begins or those who ask for sensitive financial information, it’s crucial to be aware while searching for nanny jobs. Digital payment fraud losses are anticipated to surpass $343 billion globally between 2023 and 2027 alone, highlighting an accelerating problem. According to Paul Davis, Director of Fraud at TSB, a significant amount of fraud actually takes place online. While businesses can work to avoid fraudulent actions by having training and the right processes in place, prospective nannies should also take a variety of measures to stay safe. This includes being hypervigilant regarding any personal and financial information when talking with an unknown individual on social media, never sending money to a prospective employer, and doing your research before accepting a job.

The advantages of a simple search

The Federal Trade Commission advises prospective nannies and caregivers to check out potential employers before giving any sensitive information. This can be done through an internet search of their name, etc., as well as the text of the message they sent in conjunction with the words “scam,” “complaint,” or “fraud,” which may bring up the experiences of others if the posting is indeed a scam. The FTC goes on to advise against sending money to a potential boss, and encourages getting as many details in writing as you can, including details in regard to job responsibilities, pay, and hours. 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers an abundance of additional tips for avoiding job scams, regardless of the industry you’re looking into. In addition to being cautious regarding the sharing of personal information, the BBB notes that it’s important to be wary of vague job descriptions, stresses the importance of not clicking any links in a text message from an unrecognized number, and notes that even if you do the work, it still may be a scam. With that in mind, doing your research and taking such tips into consideration can go a long way in weeding out the scams from genuine job offers.

Hiring scams can be disheartening, frustrating, and potentially devastating to those who fall victim to the deception. By remaining vigilant of the common types of scams out there as well as the signs to look out for in addition to doing your research, however, you’ll be able to effectively weed out any scams while searching for your dream job.


Jackie is an experienced freelance writer who worked as a nanny in her early twenties and has employed a number of nannies for her own children over the years. When not writing, she is passionate about travel and taking her children on as many experiences as possible. 


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