The Au Pair program is becoming one of the most popular child care options available. Consequently, there have been many scam attempts trying to mimic this program, targeting both Au Pairs and Host Families. Au Pair scams are very serious and have stolen money form prospective Host Families and Au Pairs all across the world. The safest way to avoid this type of problem in the United States is to find Au Pairs and Host Families through one of the U.S. Department of State Sponsor Agencies.

Scammers focus their actions on potential Au Pairs and Host Families who register on independent Au Pair/Nanny search websites. They know most applicants in these cases are not attached to any professional agencies and consequently are not educated about the official requirements of the Au pair program like types of visas, child care training, age requirements, local support, education etc.

For Au Pairs candidates, scammers usually pose as interested families and write long emails saying they’ll hire right away. They offer big amounts of money in exchange of easy cleaning and child care work. These scams usually lead to one of two directions: some of them will ask money for expenses of visas, lawyers and travel arrangements. They might ask you to get in contact with a travel agency, which is also a non-existence agency and will ask a payment for necessary fees. Beware that there is no agency that can provide you a visa other that official U.S. embassies and consulates. However, agencies can help with flight arrangements and the proper screening of the Host Family. The other and worst path these scams can lead to is illegal work.

Potential Host Families registered on these websites are also targets of scams. Many emails are sent from “potential” Au Pairs. They are usually attractive young women with impressive child care professional experience. Scams for Host Families usually work by charging the family some fees to view available Au Pairs that don’t exist. They also ask you to pay extra to view exclusive information about an Au Pair who doesn’t answer any emails or phone calls. They promise to send updated Au Pair information with pictures and references that again, don’t exist. Fake Au Pair agencies might also charge to match with Au Pairs that never make it to the family’s home.

goAUPAIR is one of the 12 original sponsors chosen by the U.S. Department of State. As an officially designated Au Pair agency, we are audited every year by the U.S. Department of State to ensure we are following all of the program’s rules. We also make sure all Host Families and Au Pairs are background checked and have met all the requirements to participate in the program. We make available pre-screened Au Pairs from around the world with their complete profiles at no cost or no hidden fees. Our Placement Coordinators are always available and willing to give families and Au Pairs the necessary information to make the best and safest match for both the Au Pair and Host Family. goAUPAIR also employs Local Area Representatives that meet all Host Families and Au Pairs personally and pay close attention to their relationship.

Here are some other reasons the International Au Pair Association gives why families and Au Pairs should look for reputable and established Au Pair agencies, like goAUPAIR:

-Low probability of unsuitable Au Pair or Host Family candidates
-Written contract
-Professionalism and financial stability
-High standards or guidelines
-Sufficient references and /or medical certification
-Rematch policy (secondary placement) if the initial placement is unsuccessful