It's important to take precautions when meeting others and making payments online. Photo courtesy of Pexels
Applying to be an au pair is very exciting, especially if you meet a family that would like to pre-match with you! However, don't let your excitement cloud your good judgement. It is important that you take the proper precautions and make sure the online family is not an internet scammer. All international au pairs visiting the U.S. on a J-1 Visa should only work with an official U.S. State Department sponsor such as InterExchange Au Pair USA
When meeting families online, be sure you are connecting through a J-1 Visa Sponsor. Photo courtesy of Pexels
Scams and frauds involve many different techniques. For example, a scammer may pretend to be an au pair agency like InterExchange, or a host family that saw your profile online. They might contact you by email, telling you about their family and why they need someone to help them. They may make you offers that sound amazing, They may make you offers that sound amazing, like paying you much more than the minimum program amount of $195.75 per week or saying that you won't be working very many hours. They will usually not speak with you over the phone or Skype. If you hesitate or respond slowly, their emails can become very demanding and urgent. They will often ask you to send them your personal identification (passport, driver's license) and/or payment for the agency, flights or other fees. Their emails often contain many grammar and spelling errors, and they may even use copies of au pair agency images and logos. If you doubt whether a family is real or not, you can email us at [email protected]
If you see an email address that ends in @gmail.com or @hotmail.com, it's a cause for concern. Photo courtesy of Pexels
Important Safety Reminders
- All international au pairs must apply with a U.S. Department of State designated sponsor. There is no other way to get a J-1 Visa for a U.S. au pair program.
- All international au pairs will work with a local agency in their home country. You must meet with this representative personally for a one on one interview and she or he will help you with the application process.
- All emails from InterExchange staff will end in @interexchange.org. International Cooperators also have institutional emails. Anyone claiming to be an au pair agency but emailing from a free service provider, such as Gmail or Yahoo, is most likely a scammer.
- Our application materials are all online in our protected portal. Families do not send these to you. Only our authorized agents in your home country can register you into the protected InterExchange Passport online system.
- Our families and au pairs communicate with each other using InterExchange Passport, our exclusive online portal. This is a closed online community, and a safe system for families and au pairs to meet and match with each other.
- You only begin talking to our screened host families AFTER you have completed your application and interviewed with us.
- Au pairs only pay their local agency directly, not their host family and not third-party bankers.
- U.S. au pair agencies DO NOT use money transfer companies such as Western Union or MoneyGram for business transactions.
- Never give out your personal information via email to someone you do not know.
- Do not provide copies of your personal documents or send payment to third parties. Only give these things directly to your local agency in your home country.
- If you think that someone has tried to fraudulently contact you, please contact InterExchange immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.212.924.0446 to report the incident.
We value your safety and are here to support you. If you are interested in becoming an au pair, please be sure to check out the au pair requirements.
To start the application process, please submit your information and we will reach out to you.
Originally from Colorado's Front Range, Michael studied and worked abroad in Austria, Germany, and France before settling in New York in 2007. When he isn't talking about his two beloved cats, Michael can be found at the gym, playing video games, or reading about geopolitics and history. He currently oversees au pair recruitment and placement for the Au Pair USA program.