Warning signs and people

Scam Watch: The I’m moving there


Last week I wrote about one scam affecting doulas: The I’m in Labor Scam

Today I highlight a very different type of scam, this one is out to get your money!

It looks something like this:

Hello! My wife and I are looking for a doula in your area for our baby due this summer. We will be moving to your area just three weeks before our baby comes, and we need your help with choosing a midwife, hospital and in getting things set up for the nursery. It is difficult to do these things from our native Italy. If you are available, please contact me to discuss payment and arrangements.

I’ve received variations on this theme many times a month for years. The countries vary (I’ve gotten some that say they are in Russia, Egypt, Australia, London, etc.) but they all work the same way:
Once they’ve established a discussion and rapport with you, they’ll offer to send you the money for your fee. It might be by credit card payment, it might be an international bank transfer. Either way, they’ll ask if they can send you extra money to pay for other services they want, things unrelated to births so it won’t raise suspicion. If you agree, they’ll transfer your fee and the extra money into your account. You’ll pass on the “extra” to their accomplice, who is posing as a relocation company, home builder, or real estate agent, either in cash or by money order. As soon as the accomplice has the cash, the transfer is reversed, leaving your account out the extra money!

The red flags to watch out for are:

  • They are vague about “your area” and fish around until you give them that information.
  • They are vague about their due date and place of birth
  • Very bad grammar and spelling.
  • They claim to be deaf, so talking on the phone is not an option. (if someone is truly deaf, there are relay services for typed or signed phone communication)
  • And of course, asking to send extra money!

It is possible that someone would truly want to hire you for when they are moving to town, but it’s far more likely to be a scam. Insist on a phone conversation with the expectant mom, never give out your bank account information, and most definitely don’t take extra money and pass it on to someone else!

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