A University of Maryland student was tricked out of $3,000 by scammers posing as a family needing childcare on the popular website Care.com.
News4's Consumer Reporter Erika Gonzalez contacted the website, which released the following statement to help stop any future scams:
What is Care.com doing to protect members from scams?
Care.com is an online marketplace that allows families to meet and connect with providers of caregiving services. Overpayment scams are often targeted at Internet job sites and job seekers, including caregivers, and we continuously research processes to improve the safety of our site for our members. To that end, we have implemented a number of features, including: proactive email communications to caregivers on our site with tips on how to spot and avoid scams; resources on how to avoid consumer fraud scams; a monitored messaging system for all communications; and fraud detection tools to create a safer environment. Equally as important to the measures we have instituted is for families and caregivers to exercise their own appropriate steps in safety. There are four keys steps we urge our members to follow:
1. Use the Monitored Messaging System on Care.com when communicating with a potential employer. Why? Because it protects your privacy and we can then monitor all electronic exchanges for fraudulent activity, enhancing our ability to remove fraudsters from the site.
2. Be vigilant. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Never accept payment by check in advance or for an amount which is greater than what you agreed upon and never wire money back to someone who pays you by check. This is a common Internet job scam, which occasionally targets sites offering the services of babysitters, nannies and other care providers.
3. Have an In-Person Interview. It's always important to meet with the family or individual before you accept a job. Make sure your interview is in a public place and ask to see an ID so you can confirm who you're meeting with. If a prospective employer claims to be relocating to your area and therefore is unavailable to meet for an interview, delay accepting the job – or any payment – until the individual is in your area and can meet for the in-person interview. And again, never accept advance payment from a family or individual without having first met them and gone through the interview process.
4. Talk to Care.com. Contact us immediately if you think a job post or message is spam, a scam or suggestive. Simply click the “Report” flag located in all messages and job posts. We take reports from our members very seriously and work hard to respond quickly. When Care.com becomes aware of information regarding a member or prospective member that we believe makes them a potential danger to our community, we promptly remove them from our site and notify anyone with whom we know they’ve had contact.
Here's the contact information for filing a complaint: