Avoiding Au Pair Scams: 3 Tips to Safely Becoming an Au Pair
The U.S. au pair program allows young people to travel and live abroad, improve their English and care for children. The best way to be an au pair in the USA is to go through an agency like AuPairCare which is designated as a J-1 Visa exchange sponsor. Not only do we follow the rules and regulations set for the program by the Department of State, we offer support to our au pairs here in the U.S. and our local staff is nearby to ensure our participants are safe and being treated fairly by their host family.
Unfortunately with such a great program, there are people that want to take advantage of our participants. Here’s how you can stay safe BEFORE you apply to our program
Once you know that being an au pair is the right choice for you, the next step is to apply to the program through Au Pair Room. This should only be done at apply.aupaircare.com and you do not have to pay any money to complete this application. Even if you receive information from a partner speaking on behalf of AuPairCare the application link they send you should be to this portal. Once your application has been submitted, one of AuPairCare’s local agencies will contact you to schedule an in-person interview. Stay away from anyone that asks you asks for money upfront, asks for personal information, or introduces you to a host family directly before you have submitted an application and paperwork, either by telephone or by email.
2. Watch Out for Pretenders
Sometimes au pair scammers use email addresses that look very similar to the names of agencies you’ve heard of before. Things like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org are NOT valid AuPairCare emails. Emails from our company will only come from @aupaircare.com or @intraxinc.com. Messages from our partners work much the same way, emails should come from their domain and not a free account like Yahoo, Gmail or AOL. Most of the time they will message you right in your portal. If you are unsure about a partner, give us a call at our San Francisco Headquarters or reach out to us on Facebook. Additionally, remember that the application and visa process is being handled by AuPairCare and trusted partners. If an issue ever arises, we will reach out to in a prompt manner. Be aware of reported scams involving phone calls or emails from alleged government representatives that demand personal information or money. If you ever in doubt, reach out to us!
3. AuPairCare Families Will Connect with you Through Au Pair Room
Families should not reach out to you directly or over Facebook! This is not meant to make things harder for you, but to keep you safe. By signing up with AuPairCare host families must also complete an application and undergo screening. This includes a visit from our Area Director to be sure that their home meets the requirements for an au pair. Interviews and match requests are all done via Au Pair Room after your application is completed, and you will always be able to review information about the family before speaking with them. Message notifications like the one below will show in your portal and will be sent to the email address you used when applying to the program.
Bonus Tip: Ask if You Aren’t Sure!
We’re here to help you! While we can’t track down every au pair scam ahead of time, we are more than happy to answer questions if you just aren’t sure. Follow your gut, if something feels wrong about the way you are approached, don’t move forward. Send AuPairCare message on social media or reach out to us on our contact page. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can and help you through the process.
Stay safe and we can’t wait to welcome you to the USA.