Whether you are new to the UrbanSitter community or a top caregiver, online safety is a top priority to ensure you have the best experience on the platform. While our team is continuously improving our detection measures, we know that scammers will find new ways to try to go around the system. With that in mind, here is some helpful information in identifying scams to help you stay safe during your job search.
What is an inauthentic user (i.e. a scammer)?
An inauthentic user on UrbanSitter is someone online who is impersonating a family or care seeker looking for care. Scammers typically aim to build trust with the intention of acquiring money and/or confidential, sensitive information like a Social Security Number or bank account details, often utilizing subtle methods. We want to prepare the caregivers on our platform with the knowledge and tools to flag these users to Member Services so that we can conduct an internal investigation and take the appropriate next steps.
What does a scammer look like?
Scammers on UrbanSitter are most commonly family accounts who post to the Job Board or contact caregivers through messaging. They are generally eager for you to take the conversation off UrbanSitter, either via email or text message, and are hesitant to talk on the phone or meet in person. Scammers commonly share an overly sympathetic narrative to appeal to individuals they contact, leveraging a strong sense of urgency or an apparent emergency situation. Additionally, scammers frequently propose an unusually high payment rate.
Further indications of a potential scammer include a notable frequency of misspelled words, grammatical mistakes, and unusual phrasing within their communication. They might also initiate contact by requesting a favor or service related to depositing or wiring money. In some cases, scammers might offer a check or bank wire transfer as an advance payment for completing tasks like purchasing groceries, toys, and other items needed for a caregiving job.
Examples of scammer job posts may include:
- Someone who recently lost their spouse or a child
- Someone whose children have some type of major disability
- Someone whose relative or spouse is dealing with a difficult medical condition
- Someone who is looking for a virtual/online assistant
- Someone who includes their contact information to be contacted off platform (ex: full emails and phone numbers that may be spelled out as “three….zero….five…”)
- Someone who posts the same job in multiple cities at high rates
- Someone who posts seeking an errand runner
What do I do if I see a scammer?
- If you are in contact with someone that you suspect might be a scammer, we recommend ceasing communication immediately.
- Flag the user’s Job Board post or profile, or contact Member Services directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about flagging users, click here.
If you are ever hesitant about a user on UrbanSitter, cease communication and contact Member Services so we can investigate this matter further. Rest assured, our Trust and Safety Team regularly monitors for inauthentic users and overall platform safety. However, we do encourage the UrbanSitter community to help us monitor activity that violates our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. Please feel free to contact email@example.com at any time with questions or concerns.