Is Care.com Legit, Safe and Reliable?

Nanny carrying a baby

While you may have always relied on your neighbors to babysit your child or watch your dog, it certainly limits your options. In the digital age that we live in, sites like Sittercity and Care.com have made the search for a caregiver very easy. While it is the convenience that lures you towards Care.com, families are always a little apprehensive and hesitant because they wonder if Care.com is safe and reliable.

In this article we will be talking about everything that there is to know about Care.com and how you can find safe and reliable care for your family.

What is covered in this article

We cover these topics one by one to help you find the best care for your family.

 

What is Care.com and how does it work?

Care.com is a worldwide community that connects families and caregivers. Whether you are looking for a caregiver like a nanny, babysitter, dog sitter, elderly or special needs care, or a housekeeper, you’ll be able to find help on Care.com.

Care.com homepage
(Image credit: Care.com)

As a caregiver, all you need to do is create your free profile with your information, experience, skills, and any background checks that you may have done. Once you’ve done this, you are free to browse through the jobs that families have posted and connect with the one that suits you best.

To be able to connect with families, you’ll have to purchase a Care.com Caregiver membership and if you want Care.com to do a background check to be more employable, you can request one at an additional fee. Similarly, if you are a family looking for a caregiver, you can post a job for free, but to be able to respond to messages you’ll have to purchase membership.

 

Is Care.com a legitimate service?

Yes, Care.com is legitimate. Care.com has an online presence in over 20 countries worldwide, helping more than 22 million people connect with caregivers for the support they need at home. 

While the platform is legitimate, there have been reports of cases where both families and caregivers have been contacted by unethical people who create fake profiles. Since Care.com doesn’t make conducting a background check mandatory, getting troublemakers is inevitable. So families and caregivers are always encouraged to do due diligence before they commit to anything, for their own safety.

 

Is Care.com reliable?

Yes, Care.com is a reliable service that allows you to find the best caregiver for your family. Just like any social networking site that connects people, Care.com will always be susceptible to malicious people with dishonest intentions. Whether you are a family or a caregiver, it is extremely important that you set up an online interview, check references, and ask for background verification before you meet face-to-face.

Care.com offers an optional background check service for caregivers ranging from $59 to $300. If caregivers already have a background check letter from their previous employer, families should request it before employment begins. Unfortunately, there is no such screening in place for families, which is why it is extremely important to talk to the family you’d be working with or living with before agreeing to any employment terms.

 

Is Care.com safe to use?

Just like any online platform, you will find a mixed bag of people, most of whom are genuinely looking for work or to connect with caregivers. As with other social networking sites, there are also troublemakers who have unethical intentions and are only looking for an opportunity to cheat someone.

In the past, the users of Care.com have reported that there are a lot of scammers who have posted fake jobs using fake IDs just to get your personal information to misuse it or just to waste people’s time. There have also been instances where sitters have given incorrect information about their qualifications (such as CPR training or Montessori learning methods) and Care.com has not verified this information. 

These safety issues stem from Care.com’s induction process which doesn’t include a mandatory background check, allowing anyone who wants to earn a few extra bucks to create a caregiver profile. Admitting unfit and inadequate sitters has resulted in poor childcare services that leave families with the feeling of distrust. It is always advisable to sign up for the background check that Care.com offers to show yourself as a trustworthy and legitimate caregiver.  It is also important to protect your information and only disclose it with discretion.

 

9 Care.com safety tips for using the service

Despite safety concerns that some users may have had in the past, Care.com does a great job connecting families and caregivers and boasts quite a few success stories. If you use the service with some caution and care, you can find good care for your family.

 

Care.com safety tips for parents

As a family, you should use the following tips while finding and shortlisting candidates on Care.com.

 

1. Perform your own due diligence

Whether or not the caregiver has enabled background checks on their Care.com profile, it is always important that you ask for reference letters from previous employers  and criminal background check letters before hiring them. It helps if you get on a phone call with the previous employer, if they have one on file, to understand the type of person you are letting into your home.

 

2. Share your information with discretion

It is advisable not to share your phone number and address with potential candidates until you have made a final decision. This could lead to death threats, robbery, and other potential risk that you do not want to expose your family to.

 

3. Always schedule an online interview or a meeting at a public location

Once you start shortlisting candidates, schedule a short interview to understand the type of person you are hiring. This will allow you to assess if they will be right for the job. If you do not feel comfortable with an online interview, schedule a meeting with them at a public place like a park or a coffee shop.

 

4. Check the candidate’s social media accounts

While this may not be possible every time, you should always check the caregiver’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to make sure that they are who they say they are. If they don’t have too many security filters on their profile, you’d be able to dig a little deeper on the company they keep, any suspicious organizations they are a part of, and any suspicious political or religious affiliations that they might have.

 

5. Draw out a contract to have everything in writing

Once you have finalized the right caregiver for your family, create a contract and make them sign it to formalize the employment. This will give the candidate the feeling of how seriously you’re taking this relationship and protect you and your family.

 

Care.com safety tips for sitters

To protect yourself from scammers and frauds, the tips given below can help you connect with the perfect family as a caregiver.

 

1. Do not share your phone number without talking to a potential family

When you are talking to potential employers, always insist on connecting over email first instead of sharing your phone number right away. You could set up a meeting over Zoom or use Skype to talk to families

 

2. Always request an online interview

Caregiving for a family is a two way street where both parties should be equally comfortable being around each other, so it is important for you to see who you will be working for. An online interview is the safest way for you to talk to the family, ask questions that you may have about the job, about their family, and any other details that you may need to start your job. 

 

3. Make sure you have all the information about the family

Since you will be spending a good chunk of your day in your employer’s home, it is important to find out about the rest of the family. For example, you may be interviewing for a caregiver position for a 75 year old lady who lives with her daughter and two cats. If you are allergic to cats, then even if the pay and the family is good, you won’t be able to work with them.

 

4. Always leave contact information of your employer with a trusted family member

As a safety practice, always inform a family member about where you work and how they can reach you, in case your phone is out of reach. Similarly, your employer must also have your emergency contact details, in case of an unforeseen situation.

 

While being safe on the internet is a major concern, it does not mean that we stop using it all together. Whether it’s ordering a pizza or finding care for your family, social networking sites help take the stress out of everything. We hope you have some clarity on the question that you had in mind when you started reading this article – is Care.com safe? Now you can navigate Care.com with confidence and find proper care for your family.