Babysitting Scam Hits Cincinnati Area

An Amelia area babysitter advertising her services on Craigslist encountered more than what she bargained for when a woman with a 3 year old daughter responded to her ad. Someone she initially thought would be a new client, instead turned out to be a scammer.

The babysitter said she made contact with a person who identified herself as Peggy Judley through Craigslist. In an initial email, “Peggy” told her that she could only correspond by email or text because of a hearing disability. She said she was a single mother, living with her 3 year old daughter in Arizona, but they were planning to move to the Cincinnati area in a few weeks. She said she needed a sitter while she attends classes at the University of Cincinnati .

The scammer sent a $2,450 check, telling the babysitter to keep $100 as advance payment for her first week’s fee. The remaining money should be used to pay for delivery of a wheelchair for her daugher who had been involved in a recent accident.

Fortunately for our local babysitter, she saw right through the scam. She refused to deposit the check and cut off all further contact with the scammer. The check she received was counterfeit and if she had deposited the check it would have bounced, leaving her responsible for paying back any money that was lost

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning people in the childcare industry to be extremely cautious when dealing with anyone they meet through the Internet. Scammers have been using so-called “babysitting scams” for years to steal money from unsuspecting job seekers.

These thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated and will go to great lengths to build online relationships with their victims. In this case, the scammer even emailed what was supposed to be a photograph of herself with the girl. It goes to show they will do whatever they need to do to steal money from innocent people.

BBB offers the following tips on how to identify a babysitting scam:

  • Be cautious if a “parent” wants to communicate only via text messaging or emails. He or she might be attempting to mask their identity 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 anyone checking out his or her background.

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

  • If a potential customer asks you for money for any reason, it is likely a scam.  Never transfer money via Western Union, MoneyGram or a Green Dot Money Card to anyone you do not know.

If you are worried about a potential scam, contact the BBB at 513-421-3015 or go to www.bbb.org.

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About jclemente

I started with BBB|Cincinnati in 2006 as a Marketplace Resource Consultant. Today I am the Investigations Manager.