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live-in nanny check overpayment scam

This check scam targets live-in nannies or au-pair girls, costing them thousands of dollars. The criminals (most of them from West Africa) try to trick them into cashing a fake cashier's check for them and wiring them a large portion of the cash. The money from the check is supposedly a downpayment on the wages, with a portion to be wired to a "travel agent" (i.e. the criminal using another name). This is a variation on a scam targeting professional photographers as well as classified ad sites for cars, motorbikes, horses, etc.

This scam relies on the fact that a check can bounce weeks and months after funds have already been made available for it by the bank. When you deposit a check, it always remains your responsibility, not the bank's. If you have already withdrawn and wired out cash against the check you will have in effect borrowed money off the bank against the promise that the check is valid, which it wasn't, and given that money to criminals.

In the "live-in nanny" the criminal poses as someone who is looking for a nannie to take care of small kids. He will send you a large cashier's check. If you receive such checks, do not try to cash them. Take them to the local police. Any money your account may be initially credited with when you deposit them will be debited again when the check bounces. For example, the "customer" may arrange for wages of $2000 but mail you a check for $5000. Once the bank credits your account with $5000 you will be asked to wire $3000 back to the sender which supposedly was earmarked for a airline tickets or some other purpose. Once the check bounces you will be owing $3000 plus a bounced check fee to your bank. It can hurt your credit rating, not to mention the possibility of a criminal investigation for passing a bad check.

Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • The customer will usually be contacting you from abroad for taking care of his children.
  • Your qualifications or your location won't be of much interest to him.
  • The customer will want to send you a check well in advance.
  • The check will be larger than your fee (usually by several thousand dollars). You will be expected to wire the excess amount somewhere by Western Union or Moneygram.
  • The person's English is usually substandard.

Please send us any such emails you may have received and we will publish them (withholding your name and email address, of course) to warn others and to assist law enforcement investigating such cases.

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Example email:

dan martins (

good Day to you , my name is dan martin, i am an international business man i travel alot and i lost my wife in a motor accident last september,looking for an aupair or nanny who will be staying here with my kids while i'm working or when i travel , Kindly e-mail me as regards to this offer and let me know how much will want to take per week.I look forward to hear from you soon .if you are interested in this job offer,so that i can provide you with more informations. Thank you.dan martin

dan martins (

From: "dan martins" <>
To: "Margaret Hurley" <>
Sent: Friday, November 23, 2007 00:32
Subject: RE: care

Thanks for your respond and I have 2 kids Their names are Benjamin and Mark and ages 4-2 years old, i want you take care of them and take good care of them till probably when i come to pick them up,and i want you to be a mother to them because their mother is dead. All i need from you is trust and honesty because i will not be with them with the kids and the kids will be with you due to my work status,and for the fact that i travel a lot,My kids like playing video games,going to cinemas and shopping, Our family is a little hectic at times but fun loving and energetic.and i will instruct my secretary to issue the payment to you, it will be inform of Cashier"s check Or Postal Money Order's ..
Please as soon as you receive it ,i will love you to take it to your bank and deposit it in your bank till it clears ..
After the funds most have been cleared in your account , you will remove the Total balance of your own money out of it and you will send the remaining money back to my Travel Agent here in ....(London) ..
So that they will process my kids Air flight ticket for me and i will bring them to you immediatly....
If you have interest please get back to with your full name and contact address to instruct my secretary to issue the check to you The whole amount i need to pay
Full name
Contact address
Phone number to call
and the kids will stay a month with you before will come and pick them up and i will like to come weekend to check if there are fine let me know so my secretary can send the payment out today so you can get the payment by Friday and i will send my kids picture to you if you like so you can know them before they come and my own picture too and how much do you want to take per hour let me know the total cost for it

Message headers:

Received: from [] by
 via HTTP; Mon, 14 Nov 2005 10:24:19 PST
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 10:24:19 -0800 (PST)
From: Mrs Tamia woods <>

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