The common sense tips presented below will help to make your searching activities on AuPairWorld safe and effective.
The Internet offers tremendous resources, but it also can bring you into contact with people who try to take advantage of you. These so-called scammers or fraudsters use the anonymity of the Internet to falsely take on the identity of people and institutions and trick others.
Follow these guidelines for safe searching:
As a well-established service provider in the Internet, AuPairWorld is constantly developing and monitoring its systems to ensure user security.
Some of the measures we take:
Scams are attempts to defraud Internet users by approaching them on false pretenses via email, social networks or illegitimate websites. In connection with au pairing, scammers will frequently ask their targets to send money or to make a deposit in advance.
How can you recognise a scam attempt? The following questions and answers point out typical scam risks. Take the whole test and learn what's important for safe Internet searching and avoiding scam attempts.
What do these symbols mean?
: No problem. You can relax.
: Be careful! Someone is probably trying to take advantage of you.
1) Has the au pair / family used the AuPairWorld Messaging System to contact you for the first time?
Yes: That's good. This means you're dealing with another registered user on AuPairWorld. But anyway, keep taking the test!
No: Be sceptical about au pairs / families who contact you via Facebook, Twitter or directly through your email address if you have not previously given these contact details to them. Do not trust them even if they tell you they have had a profile at AuPairWorld before. Be on your guard since this person is not using the AuPairWorld website as it is intended.
2) Has the first contact been made using Facebook or another social network?
Yes: You need to be careful here. AuPairWorld provides an in-site messaging service to raise security and guarantee that the people who contact you are also registered AuPairWorld users. If the first contact comes via Facebook, Twitter or directly to your email address then this person is not necessarily registered at AuPairWorld and we have no information about how trustworthy they are. Remember that with AuPairWorld you are the one who decides who receives your contact information.
No: Good. It shouldn't be! Go to the next question!
3) Does the offer of the au pair / family seem to good to be true (they are offering an unusually large amount of pocket money, for example)?
Yes: Don't believe offers like this. They are tricks to take advantage of you.
No: This is the way it should be. Offers that seem too good to be true are too good to be true. It is the first step of an attempt to take advantage of you and should be ignored.
4) Has the au pair / family asked you to pay money in advance (to get a visa, to pay a “travel agency” or to cover some travel expenses) or to make a deposit to guarantee your au pair stay?
Yes: Be on your guard if au pairs / families ask you to pay money in advance. You should NEVER pay money in advance to people you do not know personally. As an au pair, you are the one who has to pay for the visa and your travel expenses. Never pay money to an alleged travel agency or an organisation claiming that it will arrange your visa*. If you are a family and want to pay for your au pair's travel to your country, you should reimburse the money to the au pair once he/she is in your home, but not in advance.
No: Perfect! Never paying money in advance is the best way to keep yourself protected on the Internet.
5) Have you read the information provided in our Info Host Countries section about the formal requirements for being an au pair in the host country you want to go to?
Yes: Good! If you are well-informed, scammers cannot take advantage of you.
No: You should check in our section Info Host Countries for your intended host country and also ask the embassy if you will need a visa and which other formalities you need to complete in order to become an au pair. Scammers typically try to take advantage of those who do not know the specific requirements to become an au pair in a particular country. This occurs most frequently in connection with scam offers to be an au pair in the United States or the UK.
If you think scammers may have contacted you, end all contact with them inmediately. Do not reply to any of their e-mails and contact us at AuPairWorld.
* Exception: In order to be an au pair in the USA, you will have to go to an authorised agency. Remember there are only 15 clearly identified official agencies. Use our specific list or google their names. Never click directly on the links families send to you.
I have read scam warnings on your website. What exactly is this about?
(Host mother Irina Sánchez, Spain)
Scam, in this context, refers to fraud attempts over the Internet. What is typical about such fraud methods is that Internet users are contacted via e-mail and asked for advance payments under false pretences. Alleged reasons vary and can include for example, fees for work permits and the arrangement of formalities for au pairs, such as visa or flights. Whoever pays will never see his or her money again, and will be no closer to finding a host family or an au pair.
How can I tell that it is a scam?
(Au pair Laurence, France)
You can tell that it is a scam as soon as you are asked to send money within the course of the communication. Usually, you receive an offer which is evidently too good to be true. Here is a typical example: Your host family possesses a swimming pool and offers you far more money than the regular amount of pocket money offered in the host country. Yet, you are asked to transfer money to them. This should make you think twice. The same applies if you already receive the first e-mail with photo attachments. Should you still be unsure, you can always check with our team. Useful links: Tips for au pairs
I am being contacted by a host family on Facebook. They told me that they recently deactivated their profile on AuPairWorld. Can I trust them? What should I do?
(Au pair Mandy, UK)
Scammers are increasingly using social networks, such as Facebook. Therefore, we advise you not to contact families through Facebook. If a stranger contacts you asking for money, you can be sure that this is a fraud attempt. Cut all contact immediately and let our team know of the name of the alleged host family. We will check if there is a corresponding profile on our pages. Most importantly: never transfer any money to strangers in advance! Exchange your contact details through AuPairWorld's website only. We do our best to check the safety and quality of profiles.
How can I protect myself against scam?
(Au pair Andrea, Sweden)
The best way to protect yourself is by following the principle: never pay any money in advance! Thus, you will be well prepared. The following also helps: change the data protection settings of your Facebook profile, so that only a selected number of Internet users will be able to find your there. Please forward any suspicious e-mails to our team and ask for our advice. Do not reply to dubious e-mails. Inform Facebook of suspicious mails, as well. This is the only way to take the appropriate measures against the respective Facebook users. Should anyone have caused you any damage, contact the police and file a report! Useful links: Scam - Protect yourself
I read a lot about Internet fraudsters who pretend to be au pairs or host families. How do I make sure that I am communicating with a genuine au pair?
(Host father Martijn, the Netherlands)
There are various ways to make sure that your au pair is genuine. In this context, the following applies: Trust is good, but control is even better. Call your au pair on the phone, have a skype interview with him/her, ask for the postal address and send him/her the au pair contract to this very address. Where practical, why not invite your au pair for an advance visit? The most important thing, however, is not to pay any money in advance. Useful links: Tips for host families
Scams: Are there any new methods and tricks?
(Au pair Nina, Germany)
Yes, indeed! Scammers have lately been using the name of one of the US federally designated agencies with slight changes on a fake Internet website. The background is that, whoever wishes to work as an au pair in the USA, needs to apply for the J-1 visa through one of the federally designated agencies to the USA. However, what you need to know is that each of these legitimate agencies always has a partner agency or office in your country. This partner agency will handle your formalities. Therefore, we recommend that you click on the link for our list of au pair agencies for the USA and compare the web addresses should a host family from the USA contact you and recommend a specific agency. Are the addresses identical or are there any slight differences? To be on the safe side, you can ask our team.