How to protect yourself against scam and phishing
Being well informed is the best way to search safely for your au pair or host family online. Get informed about typical methods of scam and phishing so that scammers will have no chance with you.
Scam is a type of fraud. In au pairing, it typically occurs via emails in which an au pair or host family is contacted. In these emails, a request is made for some sort of pre-payment for a service that has not yet been rendered (and never will be). This type of fraud is therefore also known as advance-fee scam. Sometimes it also is referred to as a 419er.
The sender of the email pretends to represent a travel agency that will be taking care of formalities such as a visa and flight for the au pair. Prepayment is then requested for these services, either from the au pair or the host family. In some variants of this scam, a supposed au pair or host family makes this request for advance payment. Such requests might also be made in connection with a work permit or for the travel arrangements. These fraudulent au pairs or host families often claim to be from Great Britain or the United States – two of the most popular countries.
These scam emails also typically make offers that seem too good to be true. The au pair is described in exceedingly positive terms as a sort of "super nanny". Or the host family promises to provide au pair pocket money that is much higher than typical amounts.
Phishing is an attempt to gain access to a user's personal data (e.g. passwords, login details, etc.) via fake websites or emails. The user data that is obtained this way can then be used to gain access to the relevant profiles.