If you spend any time online, you’ve probably come across an Internet scam or two. (Heck, you may have an email from a foreign prince waiting for you right now!) Although it’s extremely rare, sometimes scammers do weasel their way into Chime.
While we do take every precaution to screen families and prevent scammers from making their way onto the Chime platform, we want to make sure our sitters are completely prepared to protect themselves from scam activity.
Please read through the following tips, and let us know immediately if you see something that raises red flags so we can take appropriate action.
- Communicate through Chime, not your personal email or by text
- By keeping your communication on Chime, you can benefit from technology that scans messages, as well keep your messages available to our Trust & Safety team, who can review for potential scam activity. Using our messaging system also prevents members from using your personal email or phone number for anything other than a Chime sitting (like spam, for example).
- If a parent is trying to book you off-platform, you should let us know.
- Be cautious with nameless parents
- All parents should have a name showing when they book or interact with you. If a parent’s name does not show up, it could be because they deleted their information to mask scam activity. If you’re unsure whether or not a parent is a potential scammer, we advise pausing communication and reaching out to our Customer Success team.
- Learn to recognize common scams
- “I want to pay you upfront.”
No legitimate employer will want to pay you for work you haven’t done yet!
Here’s how this scam works: a parent will offer you a job, plus advance payment. They’ll claim it’s a sign of their “good faith” and how they’ll prove they’re truly interested. If you agree, you’ll receive a fake check. When you’ve deposited this check (and it will look authentic, but trust us — it’s not), they’ll suddenly need you to wire some or all of the money back. They’ll either claim to have accidentally overpaid or say they can’t hire you after all. By the time your bank realizes your check isn’t legit, you’ll be out of your hard-earned money.
- “My husband is a cruise ship captain.”
Certain phrases and storylines are almost always a scam. If you notice any of the following references in an email regarding a job, don’t even bother with a response. But please notify us so we can take appropriate action:
- Cruise ship (“My husband is a cruise ship captain.”)
- Foreign Countries (“I am a film presenter/producer based here in west Africa.”)
- Fashion boutique/textile importing (“I own a fashion boutique.”)
- “We live in your local area.”
If you get an email claiming the parent lives in “your local area” or will be moving to or visiting “your local area,” proceed with caution. Because scammers are mass-producing these grammatically suspect emails, they don’t usually bother to tailor their pitch to sitters in different locations.
- “You can work from home on the computer.“
If you come across a job posting about mystery shopper or working from home “on the computer,” report them right away. Sittercity is a site for families to find child care, not a place to advertise for mystery shoppers.
- “Get rich quick!”
You’re finding a new job, not winning the lottery.
- “Please contact me via email or text right away.”
For your own safety, we keep an eye on all messages sent through Chime for the scams mentioned above. Scammers know this, so anyone who encourages you to contact them off the site immediately to discuss job details may be questionable. Once you’ve established a relationship with a family, you may feel comfortable communicating with them directly by email or text.
Bottom line: Report anything that seems unusual
We put the safety and security of everyone in the Chime community first. Don’t hesitate to report any emails or job postings that seem suspicious. It’s the best way for us to improve your experience and keep our community safe. We continuously screen members and job postings, but we can do an even better job with your help.