An Indianapolis-based company that connects child care providers with families is warning sitters to use extra care in the wake of a national scam spreading across the country. A news story being shared around the nation focuses on the plight of a sitter in Washington, D.C. who had her bank account drained in a scam after signing up as a sitter on Care.com.
The National Scam
According to news reports, the sitter was contacted by a “military family” allegedly moving back to the United States, was hired via email and paid in advance with a cashier’s check. She was told to deposit the nearly $2,000 check and deduct her first week’s wages and then deposit the remaining amount in a separate account. However, her bank account was emptied after the cashier’s check bounced. The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly received about 1,200 similar complaints to this national scam targeting caregivers since the start of 2015.
Avoiding the Scam
Lullaby Sitters is a home-grown Hoosier company created by mom Marie Maher to solve her own problem of finding qualified sitters. Marie works to help the sitters who sign up on her site, Lullaby Sitters.com, gain professional business skills to avoid scams like this. She also sets up safe “speed-sitting” events so that sitters and families can meet face-to-face in a controlled setting.
“I never lose sight of the fact that our sitters are also someone’s children,” Maher says. “Lullaby Sitters works diligently to ensure that our sitters and the children they watch are safe. That’s why we offer these unique speed-sitting events so sitters can meet families in a neutral location. This face-to-face interaction helps prevent ‘catfishing’ situations like the one in the news.”
Maher says sitters should never agree to make any financial transactions on behalf of a family, particularly one they have never met in person.
“The fact that someone would try to take advantage of a college student trying to earn money through a flexible, professional career is so upsetting and unfortunate,” Maher says. “Sitters should always trust their instincts, particularly if a situation feels odd. With a local company like ours, the sitters can reach out and get the support they need to avoid a situation like the Washington caregiver faced.”