Common online scams are usually identifiable based on the following criteria:
- You are asked to contact their phone or email immediately. When you receive a first message from someone, and they immediately ask you to call or text their phone number or email them personally, this is likely a scam. Doing this takes the conversation off-site and away from our monitoring systems, making it easier for them to scam you.
- They have encoded their phone number, email address, or Instagram handle into their name, headline, profile, or photo. This is a telltale sign of a scammer. The user is attempting to have you contact them off of the platform. The user may not message you directly with their contact information, but seeing their information broken down and receiving a message along the line of “contact me at the number in my profile” is a telltale sign of a scammer.
Their name changes throughout the conversation. If you start off communication with an individual named Sarah, but throughout the conversation the name changes to Natalie, this is something to be cautious of. Make sure all information provided to you throughout the course of your communication stays consistent.
- They refuse to speak with you on the phone. Calling someone is often a first step in verifying their identity. If you ask to set up a call and they refuse, it is likely because they are running a scam.
- They request your personal information immediately. When a user reaches out to you and asks for your phone number, email, address, or other personal information off the bat, assume it is a scam. They are likely trying to collect your information to use inappropriately.
- They send you a cheque in the mail. If a user has obtained your address and sends you a check in the mail, do not cash it. This will likely be used for money laundering. Cashing the cheque will make you responsible for the deposited funds and could end up costing you thousands of dollars.
- They offer to hire you without meeting you. If a user immediately offers to hire you after one message or even a few back and forth messages, this is suspicious. Most legitimate users will want to set up a meeting before offering you a position. It is highly recommended that you meet them before agreeing to anything.
- They offer to hire you without providing any details. If an individual offers you a job to watch their child but offers no details about their child or what the job entails, be sure to ask these questions. Most individuals have a hiring process when they are bringing someone into their home. If they do not this is something to be suspicious of.
- They offer to hire you without an interview because they are moving to your neighbourhood. These users will tell you they are moving to your ZIP/Postal Code and ask you to start immediately without them being present. Be sure to vet these individuals by asking for details about the job, what it entails, the start date, etc.
- The email or phone number they provide you with is broken down strangely. Our site blocks the sharing of private contact information for non-subscribed users for everyone’s protection. If you receive a message with an email that is spaced out or uses words in place of symbols, this is a scammer. The same goes for phone numbers. If they are spaced out or use letters in place of numbers, this is a scammer.
- They ask you to add them on Facebook. Any time a user tries to to get you off our platform, this is something to be suspicious of. We recommend always keeping communication on our platform.
- You are asked to run “personal errands” for them. Often, scammers will hire you and ask you to complete personal errands. They will send you a check, asking you to deposit it and then use some of the resources to buy gift cards or furniture. These are not legitimate jobs. Again, this is a form of money laundering. Do not deposit the cheque.
If you notice any of the above, please contact customer support immediately and report the suspicious user. We will look into their account right away and remove them so they cannot attempt to scam anyone else.