How to Stay Safe Online

Don't become a victim of a scam!

Internet Safety

Au Pair in America values your privacy, and the security of your personal information is always a priority.  For your safety and financial protection, please take a moment to read this section about how to stay safe online and avoid becoming the victim of a scam.

Recognizing A Scammer

Internet scams/online fraud are becoming more common.  We have all received emails from people claiming to be a well-known bank or telling us we have won an amazing prize, but some scammers take things further.  A scammer may pose as a host family or an au pair organization and will try to gain your confidence via email.  Once they have gained your trust, they will ask you to wire/send money to them using a money transfer company such as Western Union or Money Gram.  Do not fall for this – never send personal details (eg passport info) or agree to wire or transfer money using money transfer companies, cashier’s checks or money orders – you are being scammed!  Always remember that no reputable business or organization would ever ask for personal details or money to be wired/sent over the Internet.

Scam Checker

Most scams involve one or more of the following

  • Poorly written emails from people you don’t know
  • Being offered deals which sound “too good to be true”
  • Inability or refusal to speak with you directly on the phone
  • Odd/suspicious email addresses
  • Demanding/urgent/threatening emails requesting an immediate response
  • Requests for personal information (passport details)
  • Requests to send/wire money via Western Union, Money Gram, cashier’s checks, money orders

What To Do

If you think you are being targeted by a scammer claiming to be an Au Pair in America representative or Au Pair in America host family, or you are concerned about the authenticity of an email, phone call or message then email, call +44 207 581 7322 or contact us via our website:  You can also run searches on the Internet to check out suspicious email addresses, so if in doubt, check it out!


  • All au pairs must apply with a US Department of State designated sponsor.  Au Pair in America is a division of the American Institute for Foreign Study.  For a list of official sponsors, click here.  There is no other way to get a J1 visa for a USA au pair program.
  • If you are contacted by someone claiming to be an au pair sponsor or a partner agent of an au pair sponsor, check to see if they are on the official list.  You can then follow the link to their official website and contact them to verify this information.
  • Never follow a link or use an email address provided by a supposed host family or agency if they have contacted you - you cannot be sure you are dealing with a legitimate host family/company.
  • All au pair candidates will have to complete a detailed application before being invited for an informal interview - our application process is all online via our secure, password-protected Participant Site.  We do not send application forms out via email or post.
  • US law requires that all sponsors personally interview all candidates.  A legitimate sponsor will have a representative in your country who will meet with you and interview you in person, usually in the agency's office. "Personally" means NOT by email and NOT by phone/Skype.
  • If you are accepted as a suitable au pair candidate, ONLY THEN will you start hearing from host families.
  • An au pair does not pay anything to their host family.
  • Legitimate businesses DO NOT use money transfer companies such as Western Union or Money Gram for business transactions.

Au Pair Matching Sites

Please note that Au Pair in America has no direct affiliation with public au pair matching sites.  If you do post a profile either as an au pair or a host family on a public au pair matching site, please make sure you read that site’s scam prevention information carefully, and, as above, never send personal info or agree to wire/transfer money to people you meet on these matching sites.  If you think you are in contact with a scammer via one of these sites, inform that site immediately.

Au Pair in America Payment Methods

You will only be invoiced for your Au Pair in America Program Fee once you have placed with one of our carefully selected Host Families.  You will only be requested to pay this Program Fee via your secure, password-protected Au Pair in America Participant Site.  Neither Au Pair in America, nor any of its registered US host families, will ever ask you to send or wire money via Western Union, Money Gram, cashier's checks or money orders.