Thanks to the Internet, it’s never been easier to find the services you need. Back before the advent of services like Care.com and even Google, people had to rely on word of mouth in order to find effective babysitters or pet sitters. But it can be hard to find a babysitter or pet sitter you can trust when, for example, you’re new to an area and don’t have a lot of local friends you can rely on.
But be wary of who you’re hiring online. You never know if the babysitter or pet sitter you’re about to hire might really be a con artist or a sexual offender. Your children and pets, after all, should only be taken care of by someone you know you can trust. Watch out for these common red flags before you decide to trust in someone you don’t really know and stay safe by conducting a background check first!
Things To Watch Out For
In general, you want to be careful about who you contact online. Try to stick with services like Care.com or Angie’s List in order to find reliable, well regarded babysitters and pet sitters in your area. Still, you should be on alert when trying to find people on sites like these. Especially if you decide to look for someone on a job board or a site like Craigslist. No matter what online service you use, you should still be careful before hiring someone you don’t know to watch your children or animals.
People aren’t always who they say they are online. In general, be cautious about hiring someone who has no experience babysitting or pet sitting. On the flip-side, be wary about someone who has an unusually fantastic resume for their age. An eighteen year old, for example, who can supposedly speak multiple languages, has babysat for “over ten years” and so on is very likely lying about their credentials.
Any opportunity that sounds too good to be true probably is. Watch out for babysitters or pet sitters who charge unusually low rates. Be cautious of any babysitter unwilling to give you personal information like their name, general location, and so on. They may be hiding something.
How to Keep Your Kids, Pets, and Home Safe
Always be alert and cautious before hiring a babysitter or pet sitter online. Try to meet with them in person at least a couple times before letting them watch your children and/or pets alone.
Always conduct a background check before you decide to meet anyone in person. In general, a name or a phone number is all you need to perform a person search online. For example, a reverse phone lookup service can be used to find a ton of background information on the listed owner of the phone. If any of the information you pull up doesn’t match the information the person gave you, that’s a huge red flag.
If you have the person’s name available, you can conduct a search on a site like Family Watchdog. This will enable you to see if the person in question is a sex offender. You may also want to consider using a background search service to see if your potential babysitter or pet sitter has a criminal record. It’s up to you on how to proceed with any information you provide.
But if someone turns out to be a sex offender and is working as a babysitter, report them to authorities immediately. Do not hesitate for one second.
Your children and animals are important to you. Don’t compromise their safety under any circumstances.