How to avoid falling for Au Pair Scams.

First things first.  Any prospective au pair who is actively searching for an au-pair host family on line has a very high probability of receiving a fake au pair job offer from a fake au pair host family. The offer usually comes in the form of  an e-mail. To a hopeful or despairing prospective au pair, the offer usually comes across as a gift from heaven!

It is not unusual to have prospective au pairs post samples of such  letters, asking forum members to tell them whether they are authentic offers.

Here’s an example of such a post with its accompanying fraudulent mail :

Hello is this true cant find there name here in find Aupair…im looking a host family in almost 1year still don’t have host family they are all SCAMMMm….grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr they always ask me money Cry

Dear Aupair,

We are Haggin’s family from The United State of America , We are a nice and fun loving family but we are currently based in London (UK).

I work for Continental corporation united kingdom; a Multinational Tyre Company based in UK as a production engineer. My wife Mary also works with the same company as an Administrative Assistant. We were posted on contract to ( UK ) where we currently reside but we would be returning back to ( USA ) after our contract expires.

You could visit our company website www.conti-online.com

Our busy schedule prompted us to seek the assistance of an aupair, we searched for potential nannies on www.findaupair.com and we found your profile and liked it. Your basic duties would be to take care of our kid. Our son Hudson goes to school 5 days a week from 8.45am to 2pm and we all love the outdoors, this effectively means that we mainly hang out in the garden at home or sometimes go out on day trips to just about anywhere; beaches, country parks, adventure parks, activity farms, seaside towns, forest walks… you name it. Hudson is very easy going and as such you can get along with him easily.

Indicate your interest by sending us your picture, phone number and some character references for us to evaluate and consider you for the position.

On the issue of travel documents, we would take care of the cost by undertaking care of your traveling cost. In saying this we would be paying for your flight tickets and visa procurement charges.

Let us hear from you so that we can discuss more on the offer. You can contact me on this same e mail portal or via my direct mobile phone number +44 702 406 4990

Best regards

David Haggin,

For the family.

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Ok, so perhaps you’re thinking, this really does sound like a genuine family searching for an au pair…How on earth am I going to tell apart the hoax from the genuine?! How do I  avoid falling for such Au Pair application Scams

The answer to that one is pretty simple. It all lies in your capacity to critically analyse the content of the e-mail.

I’ll give you an example of an analysis of this very same e-mail, that I did in response to a prospective au pair’s post on an au pair forum (http://www.findaupair.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=6059) :

Hello, I’m sorry, to disappoint you, but that one is without any doubt a hoax.

Here’s why:
Firstly, notice the “Dear Au Pair”? It is impersonal. If it were a real family who got your details on Find Au Pair, then, they would have made a tiny winy bit of effort to address the mail to “Dear Your Name”
The point is, the same letter is sent to different people and in large numbers, so they dare not personalize.

Second:

Do you see the logic behind the “but” in the sentence below.

“We are Haggin’s family from The United State of America , We are a nice and fun loving family but we are currently based in London (UK).

Can’t one be “a nice and fun loving family”  from America, AND be ” based in London”?

Third:
You could visit our company website www.conti-online.com

That’s a not-so-bright scammer, who thinks that a despairing au pair 2 be would be impressed.
Honestly, I know absolutely nobody,  NO ONE, who would invite a  prospective au pair  to visit the website of their employer or of the company that employs them!
(If they owned the company, it may make a tiny winy bit of sense, but even then, it would still be very WIERD…)

Fourth:
“Your basic duties would be to take care of our kid”.
There’s something about the use of the word “kid” that’s just not right. I mean, that’s not how you introduce your most precious being to a prospective au pairDisapprove .

Fifth:
“Our son Hudson goes to school 5 days a week from 8.45am to 2pm and we all love the outdoors, this effectively means that we mainly hang out in the garden at home or sometimes go out on day trips to just about anywhere; beaches, country parks, adventure parks, activity farms, seaside towns, forest walks… you name it. Hudson is very easy going and as such you can get along with him easily.”

How does one just move from talking about the son’s school hours to the families leisure activities, and all that in one sentence!! A parent would at least mention their child’s age, and what he likes to do….

Clearly, in the the first three paragraphs one notices that the writer had one main preoccupation to impress you the recepient (living in London, but that later you will go to the united States; there’s the see -where-we-work link;  family is always doing fun stuff…no need for them to talk about the child…He himself would be funWacko ; we’ll cater for all your travel and travel related expensesWacko

The last three paragraphs also expect that you have been SOOOO impressed by the description of the wonderful life they have to offer and that you’ll hurry to send them your e-mail and other personal info, hence allowing them to move to stage two of the scam.

Also, notice the tone of the last three paragraphs? They use the imperative mood/tone. A genuine prospective family would not employ such a tone Ermm

Don’t despair!Smile

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And why should you avoid falling for such au pair scams  in the first place? It’s  plain and simple: there’s ALWAYS  extortion involved!  For such occasions, I always keep the good old line in perspective.  I’m sure you’ve heard the line that goes:  ” If  it  sounds too good to be true,  it probably is. ”

My personal adaptation of it is:  “If it  sounds too good to be true:  Think! Not just twice, but many times and seek advice.”



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