For Families
For Caregivers
General Safety FAQs
What precautions does Care.com take to help maintain a safe community?

One precaution we take is to check certain information some members provide us against various databases and other sources for criminal or other inappropriate activity. In addition, our dedicated safety team reviews profiles for suspicious and inappropriate content and investigates job posts, profiles and messages that are flagged by our members as objectionable. While we view these as important initial steps, they are only preliminary checks and do not catch everything; the best safety precautions are the ones you take. Please visit our Safety Guide page to learn more about the steps we recommend you take to help make good hiring decisions.

Do you verify the information members provide on Care.com?

Generally, we do not verify the accuracy of the information members post in their profiles, in job postings or in other areas of the site. See below for information regarding phone and email verifications caregivers may choose to perform. Please be sure to verify the information that is important to you before hiring a caregiver.

Do you verify the information businesses provide in their profiles?

Generally, we do not verify the accuracy of the information businesses provide in their profiles. Please be sure to verify the information that is important to you before choosing a care-related business.

What does it mean if a business listed on Care.com has passed Care.com's pre-screening review?

All businesses on Care.com that show a check mark have been pre-screened by one of our Care Force members. During the pre-screening process our Care Force:

  • Verifies profile information for accuracy.
  • Cross checks the Better Business Bureau for accreditation and reputation ratings.
  • Conducts an online media search for negative, newsworthy incidents.
  • Performs an overall reputation check by reading a sample of online reviews by customers like you.
  • Verifies license information (senior care facilities only).

The information reviewed during the pre-screening process can change at any time. Please make sure to perform your own research on the care providers you are seriously considering.

What steps does Care.com take to protect my information?

We built a monitored messaging system that enables you to communicate through Care.com instead of your personal email. That way, you only share your contact information if and when you feel comfortable.

We also set up industry-recognized safeguards to help protect your information from unauthorized access, including:

  • Using SSL (Secure Socket Layer), the industry standard method for computers to communicate securely. We utilize SSL in the online registration process, in the login process and in the account management section of the site.
  • Using strong encryption technology to protect sensitive information.
  • Employing firewalls and system monitoring to protect against unauthorized access of our systems.

Your user accounts are also protected by the password you use to access your online account with Care.com, and we urge you to take steps to keep your password safe. If you feel your password has been compromised, you should change it immediately by logging into your account and visiting the "My Profile & Settings" section. And after each visit, you should log out of your Care.com account and exit your browser.

What does Care.com do if it learns a member is unsafe or has acted inappropriately?

If Care.com learns a member may be unsafe or has acted inappropriately, we immediately remove the member from Care.com.

What are my responsibilities in making safe decisions for my family and me?

Ultimately, all hiring decisions are up to you. Please make sure you have done your research and feel comfortable with the company or individual before hiring. Visit our Safety Guide page to learn more about certain steps you can take to help make good hiring decisions.

Safety Verifications
What is the safety & Verification Dashboard?

The Safety & Verification Dashboard is part of every caregiver's profile. It allows you to easily view the status of safety verifications and whether or not a caregiver is verified, in one centralized location. Read below to learn more about each verification.

What's included on the Safety & Verification Dashboard?

A caregiver's Safety & Verification Dashboard includes:

  • Phone Number Verification
  • Email Verification
  • Facebook Connect
  • Background Check Status (Preliminary and Preferred)
How is a caregiver's phone number verified?

To help build their reputation and validate their identity, caregivers have the option to verify the phone number they've registered with Care.com. In order to verify their phone number, a caregiver enters his or her phone number and cell phone carrier. The caregiver then receives a text message containing a confirmation code, and has to enter the confirmation code correctly into their Care.com account to verify his or her phone number.

How is a caregiver's email address verified?

To help build their reputation and validate their identity, caregivers have the option to verify the email address they've registered with Care.com. In order to verify their email address, a caregiver clicks the Verify Email link. This triggers an email to the email address the caregiver registered with Care.com. The caregiver opens the email from Care.com, clicks the confirmation link and is prompted to log into their Care.com account to verify their email address.

Can I request verification of a caregiver's phone number and/or email address?

Currently, there is no automated way to request that a caregiver verifies phone number and/or email address. You can however, message the caregiver to request verification.

Third-Party Checks
What types of third-party checks should I do on a caregiver?

It's important to perform your own independent search on your candidates. Search the web for their name to see if there are any news articles about them. Contact your state or local municipalities to obtain public information. You should also try to locate them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks.

What should I do if I find negative information after doing my own search?

Please contact our Member Care team if you uncover any suspicious or inappropriate information, so we can take the necessary actions.

Preliminary Background Checks
What's the difference between a Preliminary Background Check and a Preferred Background Check?
What's Covered Preliminary Background Check Preferred Background Check
Social Security Number Verification X X
National Criminal Database Search X X
State Sex Offender Registry Search X X
Federal Courthouse Records Search X
County Courthouse Records Search* X
Estimated Time to Complete With 1 Day 1-3 Days
Can you describe in more detail what's covered by a Preliminary Background Check?

A Preliminary Background Check includes the following:

  1. Social Security Number Verification - The user's Social Security Number will be verified to ensure that it is a valid Social Security Number and that it is associated with the user.
  2. National Criminal Databases Search - Records in this database include:
    • Criminal Record Repositories
    • State Sex Offender Registries
    • Terrorist Watch Lists
    • Prison, parole and release files from state Department of Corrections, Administrative Office of Courts and other state agencies

The specific records searched vary by state and county. For example, many jurisdictions only include felony conviction records in the national criminal data base, not arrest records. And Massachusetts includes only registered sex offenders.

Please refer to this document to understand exactly what records are searched and how frequently the records are updated.

How do I request a Preliminary Background Check?

To request a Preliminary Background Check on a caregiver, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Search for a caregiver by using the search box that appears across the top of each page on the site.
  3. From a search results page, click on a caregiver's name to view his or her profile.
  4. Click the Request Background Checks button in the Safety & Verification Dashboard.
  5. If the caregiver already has a background check on file, you will be able to request access to the results. If there is no background check on file, you can request that the caregiver run one.
What are the limitations of a Preliminary Background Check?

A Preliminary Background Check relies on criminal record data that is provided by jurisdictions across the country to a national database. The specific data in this database and the frequency it is updated varies by jurisdiction. For many jurisdictions, only felony conviction records - not arrest records - are included in the database. Massachusetts includes only registered sex offenders. Read What's Covered By A Background Check to learn exactly what records are searched.

How accurate are the results of a background check?

Our vendor does their best to ensure that background check results are correct. However, it is possible that the records used to compile the background check may not be 100% accurate or complete.

How do I interpret the results of a Preliminary Background Check?

Below is a description of the results that can be returned for each component of a background check:

Social Security Number Verification:

Verified – The Social Security Number is valid and matches the name of the user.

Not Verified – The Social Security Number is either not valid or does not match the name of the user. This can happen if the user gets married and changes names, the user did not specify their full legal name when submitting the background check request, or the user is a minor. You can also get this result if the user does not have any credit history. However, this result may also indicate that the user attempted to run the background check with a Social Security Number that does not belong to them.

National Criminal Records Search:

No Cases Found – The search of the national criminal databases did not return any criminal cases for the user.

Cases Found – The search of the national criminal databases returned one or more criminal records for the user. Record details are provided in the next section of the background check report.

When considering the results of the National Criminal Records Search it is important to understand what databases are searched. The specific records searched vary by state and county. Please refer to What's Covered By A Background Check to learn exactly what records are searched.

Federal Courthouse Records Search:

No Cases Found – No criminal cases were found after a search of federal courthouse records based on the user's address history.

Cases Found – One or more criminal records were found after a search of federal courthouse records based on the user's address history. Record details are provided in the next section of the background check report.

County Courthouse Records Search:

No Cases Found – No criminal cases were found after a search of county courthouse records based on the user's address history.

Cases Found – One or more criminal records were found after a search of county courthouse records based on the user's address history. Record details are provided in the next section of the background check report.

Statewide Records Search:

No Cases Found – No criminal cases were found after a search of statewide records based on the user's address history.

Cases Found – One or more criminal records were found after a search of statewide records based on the user's address history. Record details are provided in the next section of the background check report.

Preferred Background Checks
What's the difference between a Preliminary Background Check and a Preferred Background Check?
What's Covered Preliminary Background Check Preferred Background Check
Social Security Number Verification X X
National Criminal Database Search X X
State Sex Offender Registry Search X X
Federal Courthouse Records Search X
County Courthouse Records Search* X
Estimated Time to Complete With 1 Day 1-3 Days
Can you describe in more detail what's covered by a Preferred Background Check?

A Preferred Background Check includes everything in a Preliminary Background Check, plus:

County Courthouse Records Search - This is a search of the records on file in each county where the user is known to have lived in the past 7 years. This type of search can find criminal records in jurisdictions that do not provide information to the national criminal records database. (Note: Due to local regulations, for most counties in New York, a county courthouse search will be replaced by a statewide search).

Federal Courthouse Records Search - This is a search of the records on file in each federal jurisdiction where the user is known to have lived in the past 7 years. This type of search can find criminal records for federal offenses in jurisdictions that do not provide information to the national criminal records database.

Do you recommend running a Preferred Background Check?

Yes, we recommend you always run a Preferred Background Check on your final candidate before hiring. The extra research conducted during a Preferred Background Check can uncover information you might not learn from a Preliminary Background Check, in-person interview or reference check.

How do I request a Preferred Background Check on a caregiver?

To request a background check, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Search for a caregiver by using the search box that appears across the top of each page on the site.
  3. From a search results page, click on a caregiver's name to view his or her profile.
  4. Click the Request Background Checks button in the provider's Safety & Verification Dashboard.
  5. Choose the Preferred Background Check option and submit your request.
How accurate are the results of a background check?

Our vendor does their best to ensure that background check results are correct. However, it is possible that the records used to compile the background check may not be 100% accurate or complete.

Premier Background Checks
What's the difference between the Premier Background Check and the Preferred and Preferred+ Background Checks?

The Premier Background check is performed by PFC Information Services, Inc. PFC's team of investigative professionals are involved in each step of the process, from data entry to analysis to report preparation. PFC also has their own network of professional court researchers that are dispatched to courthouses throughout the U.S. In addition, PFC subscribes directly to many state databases, and utilizes premium commercial databases. All of this results in more accurate background checks with fewer false positives.

The Premier Background Check also includes searches not included in the Preferred Background Checks, including -

  • U.S. District Court Criminal Records
  • National Bankruptcy Records
  • National Wants & Warrants
  • Civil Restraining Orders
Can you describe, in more detail, what is covered by the Premier Background Check?

The Premier Background Check includes the following services:

SSN Verification - The Social Security Number Verification is not a check of the Social Security Administration's databases, but a search of credit bureau and public records databases to determine what name or names are associated with the usage of a particular Social Security number. A comprehensive address history is also included.

National Criminal Database - This check provides a search of multiple criminal record sources, including some state and county criminal repositories, a proprietary database of felonies/misdemeanors, and prison parole/release records. While this check provides access to millions of criminal records, it is not a true nationwide search.

National Sex Offender Registry - This is a national search of the U.S. Justice Department's Sex Offender Registry. All 50 states are included.

State/County Criminal Records - Felony and misdemeanor records can be researched anywhere in the U.S. In some states the checks must be conducted at the county level, while statewide checks are available in the following states: Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

US District Court Criminal Records - US district court records are researched for criminal or civil litigation in all 50 states.

Driving Records - DMV reports can be obtained in every state, with the exception of Alaska, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. Generally, violations remain on the DMV report for three years, although convictions for serious offenses are reported for 5 years or more, depending on the state. Convictions for DUI or "wet reckless" are of critical importance, as they can point to substance abuse problems.

National Bankruptcy Records - A comprehensive bankruptcy filing search will show if the candidate has filed for bankruptcy and, if so, whether the bankruptcy was classified as 7, 11, 13, includes additional debtors, liability amount, and filing date.

National Wants & Warrants - A nationwide search for any open, extraditable warrants pertaining to the subject.

Civil Restraining Orders - This check will uncover any civil restraining orders filed against the candidate. Restraining orders will generally stay on file for 1 year. Domestic employers are particularly concerned about litigation involving former employers and temporary restraining orders.

Do you recommend running a Premier Background Check?

We recommend you always run a background check on your final candidate before hiring. While no background check is 100% complete, the Premier Background Check is prepared by investigative professionals and provides some of the most in-depth data available. The Premier Background Check can uncover information you might not learn from the Preliminary, Preferred, or Preferred+ Background Check, in-person interview, or reference check.

How do I request a Premier Background Check on a caregiver?

To request a background check, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Search for a caregiver by using the search box that appears across the top of each page on the site
  3. From a search results page, click a caregiver's name to view his or her profile
  4. Click the Get Started button in the Safety & Verification Dashboard
  5. Choose the Premier Background Check option and submit your request

Once the caregiver has accepted your request, a member of our team will contact you to provide the necessary forms and guide you through this straightforward process.

What do I do once a caregiver accepts my request for a Premier Background Check?

A member of our team will contact you to provide the necessary forms. There are three forms that must be completed (one completed by you, one completed by the caregiver, and one completed by both). Once the forms have been completed, you will fax the forms to PFC Information Services at 510-336-9791. If anything comes up or PFC has any questions they may reach out to you directly. You may also reach out to PFC if you have any questions during the process. Once the background check has been completed, PFC will email you a copy of the results to the email address you provided.

Interviews
Where should I conduct my in-person interview?

It's a good idea to conduct your first in-person meeting at a public location, such as a coffee shop.

What should I ask the caregiver to bring to the interview?

Request to see a photo ID of the potential caregiver to confirm she is who she claims to be. Also, request documentation to verify any other information that is important to you.

When should I introduce my final candidate to my family?

Have your top choices individually meet your family after the initial meeting, so it's not awkward for her or overwhelming for your kids. Bonus: this practice run might actually give you the best insight into which applicant will be the best fit.

References
What is a recorded reference interview?

When a caregiver lists a reference with a valid phone number, we can call the reference and upload a recording of the call to the caregiver's account so everybody can benefit! We'll also include a transcript of the conversation.

How do I request a recorded reference interview?

If a reference has a phone number and a recorded reference isn't already available, click the link that says "Request recorded reference interview." Please allow a few business days while we complete the interview. We'll send you a message to let you know when it's posted.

Do you verify the authenticity of the person you are calling?

Care.com does not verify the authenticity of references or their relationship to the caregivers that list them on their profile. If you'd like to speak directly with the reference, you can contact the caregiver to request the reference's phone number.

General Safety FAQs
What types of precautions does Care.com take help maintain a safe community?

One precaution we take is to check certain information some members provide us against various databases and other sources for criminal or other inappropriate activity. In addition, our dedicated safety team reviews profiles for suspicious and inappropriate content and investigates job posts, profiles and messages that are flagged by our members as objectionable. While we view these as important initial steps, the best safety precautions are the ones you take. Please visit our Safety Guide page to learn more about the steps we recommend you take to help make good job selection decisions.

Do you verify the information members provide on Care.com?

Generally, we do not verify the accuracy of the information members post in their profiles, in job postings or in other areas of the site. See below for information on how you can verify your phone and email address. And when looking for a job, please be sure to verify the information that is important to you before accepting a caregiving position.

Do you verify the information businesses provide in their profiles?

Generally, we do not verify the accuracy of the information businesses provide in their profiles. Please be sure to verify the information that is important to you before choosing a care-related business.

What does it mean if a business listed on Care.com has passed Care.com's pre-screening review?

All businesses on Care.com that show a check mark have been pre-screened by one of our Care Force members. During the pre-screening process our Care Force:

  • Verifies profile information for accuracy.
  • Cross checks the Better Business Bureau for accreditation and reputation ratings.
  • Conducts an online media search for negative, newsworthy incidents.
  • Performs an overall reputation check by reading a sample of online reviews by customers like you.
  • Verifies license information (senior care facilities only).

The information reviewed during the pre-screening process can change at any time. Please make sure to perform your own research on the care providers you are seriously considering.

What steps does Care.com take to protect my information?

We built a monitored messaging system that enables you to communicate through Care.com instead of your personal email. That way, you only share your contact information if and when you feel comfortable.

We also set up industry-recognized safeguards to help protect your information from unauthorized access, including:

  • Using SSL (Secure Socket Layer), the industry standard method for computers to communicate securely. We utilize SSL in the online registration process, in the login process and in the account management section of the site.
  • Using strong encryption technology to protect sensitive information.
  • Employing firewalls and system monitoring to protect against unauthorized access of our systems.

Your user accounts are also protected by the password you use to access your online account with Care.com, and we urge you to take steps to keep your password safe. If you feel your password has been compromised, you should change it immediately by logging into your account and visiting the "My Profile & Settings" section. And after each visit, you should log out of your Care.com account and exit your browser.

What does Care.com do if it learns a member is unsafe or has acted inappropriately?

If Care.com learns a member may be unsafe or has acted inappropriately, we immediately remove the member from Care.com. We also notify anyone we know has ever been in touch with the member.

What are my responsibilities in making safe decisions for my family and me?

Ultimately, all decisions are up to you when choosing caregiving jobs. Please make sure you have done your research and feel comfortable with the employer before accepting the position. Visit our Safety Guide page to learn more about certain steps you can take to help make good job selection decisions.

Safety Verifications
How do I verify my phone number?

In order to verify your phone number log into your Care.com account, go to your Profiles & Settings and scroll down to Test Message Alerts. Enter your phone number and carrier and click submit. You will receive a text message containing a confirmation code. Enter the confirmation code into the appropriate field, and click confirm.

How do I verify my email address?

In order to verify your email address, log into your Care.com account, go to your Profiles & Settings and click the Verify Now link next to your email address. This will trigger an email to your personal email address. Log into your personal email account, open the email from Care.com and click the confirmation link.

Third-Party Checks
What types of third-party checks should I do on a care seeker?

It is important to perform your own independent search to ensure you are being hired by someone you would be comfortable working for. Search the web to see if there are any news articles about them. Contact your state or local municipalities to obtain public information. You should also try to locate them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks.

What should I do if I find negative information after doing my own search?

Please contact our Member Care team if you uncover any suspicious or inappropriate information, so we can take the necessary actions.

Background Checks
How can I request a background check on myself?

We make it easy to add a background check to your account. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Click on the "My Background Check" link in the left navigation.
  3. Follow the instructions on the next page.
Can I request a background check on a potential employer?

At present, we do not offer the ability to run a background check on a potential employer.

Who can view the results of my background check?

You always have control over who can view the results of your background check. The list of users you have allowed to view your background check is listed right under your background check report in the "My Background Check" section of "My Care.com." You can decide to remove a user's access to your report at any time.

How much does it cost to run a background check?

If you would like to run a Preferred Background Check on yourself, please go to the "My Background Check" section of "My Care.com" for additional information and fees.

I believe that my background check results are incorrect. What should I do?

Although every effort is made to ensure that the background check results are correct, it is possible that the records used to compile the background check are not 100% accurate or complete. If you believe that your background check results are not accurate, please contact AISS at: Sterling Infosystems Inc., 1 State Street Plaza, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10004 or by telephone at (800) 853-3228 Option 2.

Additionally, if a criminal case is found during the National Criminal Databases search, you will receive a letter in the mail from Sterling informing you of the steps you can take to resolve any incorrect information.

Premier Background Checks
What's the difference between the Premier Background Check and the Preferred and Preferred+ Background Checks?

The Premier Background check is performed by PFC Information Services, Inc. PFC's team of investigative professionals are involved in each step of the process, from data entry to analysis to report preparation. PFC also has their own network of professional court researchers that are dispatched to courthouses throughout the U.S. In addition, PFC subscribes directly to many state databases, and utilizes premium commercial databases. All of this results in more accurate background checks with fewer false positives.

The Premier Background Check also includes searches not included in the Preferred Background Checks, including -

  • U.S. District Court Criminal Records
  • National Bankruptcy Records
  • National Wants & Warrants
  • Civil Restraining Orders
Can you describe, in more detail, what is covered by the Premier Background Check?

The Premier Background Check includes the following services:

SSN Verification - The Social Security Number Verification is not a check of the Social Security Administration's databases, but a search of credit bureau and public records databases to determine what name or names are associated with the usage of a particular Social Security number. A comprehensive address history is also included.

National Criminal Database - This check provides a search of multiple criminal record sources, including some state and county criminal repositories, a proprietary database of felonies/misdemeanors, and prison parole/release records. While this check provides access to millions of criminal records, it is not a true nationwide search.

National Sex Offender Registry - This is a national search of the U.S. Justice Department's Sex Offender Registry. All 50 states are included.

State/County Criminal Records - Felony and misdemeanor records can be researched anywhere in the U.S. In some states the checks must be conducted at the county level, while statewide checks are available in the following states: Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

US District Court Criminal Records - US district court records are researched for criminal or civil litigation in all 50 states.

Driving Records - DMV reports can be obtained in every state, with the exception of Alaska, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. Generally, violations remain on the DMV report for three years, although convictions for serious offenses are reported for 5 years or more, depending on the state. Convictions for DUI or "wet reckless" are of critical importance, as they can point to substance abuse problems.

National Bankruptcy Records - A comprehensive bankruptcy filing search will show if the candidate has filed for bankruptcy and, if so, whether the bankruptcy was classified as 7, 11, 13, includes additional debtors, liability amount, and filing date.

National Wants & Warrants - A nationwide search for any open, extraditable warrants pertaining to the subject.

Civil Restraining Orders - This check will uncover any civil restraining orders filed against the candidate. Restraining orders will generally stay on file for 1 year. Domestic employers are particularly concerned about litigation involving former employers and temporary restraining orders.

Interviews
Where should I schedule my in-person interview?

It's a good idea to have your first in-person meeting at a public location, such as a coffee shop.

References
What is a recorded reference?

When you list a reference with a valid phone number, we can call the reference to perform an interview on a potential employer's behalf. Once we have the recording on file, we post it to your account so everybody can benefit!

Messaging
What does the Care.com Monitored Messaging System Monitor look for?

Our monitored messaging system looks for offensive words and signs of spam, scams or other inappropriate content.

Why should I communicate through Care.com's messaging system?

Privacy. We suggest you send all of your initial messages through Care.com instead of using your personal email. That way, you only share your contact information if and when you feel comfortable enough. So instead of sharing your contact information every time you apply for a job, you only share it with a select few potential employers.

Convenience. All of your messages, such as replies to job posts, are in one central place. No searching through hundreds of emails in your inbox, no hunting for a sticky note that's wandered off. Simple and fast, just the way you want it.

What types of content does Care.com monitor for in messages?

Our monitored messaging system looks for offensive words and signs of spam, scams or other inappropriate content. In the rare cases where something does slip through, you can report the message and our safety team will look into it and take appropriate action.

Awareness
What types of things should I report to Care.com?

Please report any inappropriate activity, whether it's spam, a scam, or suggestive.

How do I report inappropriate content to Care.com?

If you experience any type of inappropriate interactions with another member or see anything inappropriate on the site, click the Report to Care.com flag in the upper right corner of all messages, job posts and profiles. Provide any additional details, and click submit.

What does Care.com do when someone has been reported?

We have a dedicated Safety team that investigates all content flagged by our members. Once a flag is received the Safety team investigates on a case-by-case basis. If the content violates our terms, we will immediately close the user's account.

I received a job offer that seems "too good to be true". What should I do?

If a job offer seems "too good to be true", then it probably is. You should be extra cautious if you receive a message offering employment and advance payment by check without an interview with the family or even a phone call.

What should I do if a potential employer wants to send me advanced payment?

You should be extra cautious if you receive messages offering employment and advance payment by check without an interview with the family or even a phone call. This is a common internet job scam, which occasionally targets sites offering babysitters, nannies and other caregivers. Never accept payment without having first met the employer and gone through an interview process. Never accept payment by check for an amount which is greater that what you agreed upon. Never wire money back to someone who pays you by check.

Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns, or with reports of any suspicious activity within the Care.com community. You can find out more about internet job scams at Fraud.org.