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File this one under YIKES. A mom named Kimberlee Auerbach Berlin wrote a post on CafeMom warning other moms of the danger of hiring babysitters online when you don't really know anything about them. True, the babysitter Berlin had hired came highly recommended from another mom, but as she later found out, that "mom" was just a dummy account set up by the babysitter herself.

Here's what went down: Berlin's regular babysitter had canceled that morning, so she was looking for someone to come to her house and play with her toddler for a few hours, while she worked and her baby slept. She went to the Facebook page for a local group called "Sitters and Tutors," where a mom named Judy (not her real name) recommended a sitter named Monique (not her real name, either).

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Berlin hired Monique, who was currently sitting downstairs playing with her toddler. But then Berlin got a terrifying comment from another local mom on a Facebook post that said, "Judy is a fake mother recommending her fake nanny!"

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Desperately frightened, Berlin sent a message to Judy reading, "Please tell me you are a real mother and Monique is your real nanny." She then took a few minutes to click around Judy's profile, and immediately recognized it as a dummy account—the stock image of a fireplace with no fire was pretty much a dead giveaway, as well as the fact that "Judy" only had nine Facebook friends.

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Berlin asked Monique why someone would contact her saying she was a fake nanny, to which she replied, "I'm a good person. Judy is my employer. I look after her four children. Two of them go to Mickey Fried Pre-K. That's really messed up someone would say that." Uh-huh, okay.

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Berlin gave Monique a check and got rid of her, and then immediately sat down and Googled her. The first result? A mug shot. She'd apparently been arrested for credit card theft. I'm not a mom but even I get that that's not really the first quality you are looking for in a nanny.

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Next, Berlin called the preschool Monique said Judy's kids went to. The director told Berlin, "There is no Judy. But I know Monique. She worked for a family whose son goes here and Monique stole their credit cards and identity."

Because Berlin wanted to warn other parents in town, she posted about her scary experience in another local Facebook group, including the mug shot. Berlin wrote, "I didn't care if someone thought I was the worst mom on the planet for letting a woman I had never met play with my son. I hoped someone else could learn from my mistake."

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And wouldn't you know it, Berlin began to receive messages from other moms who'd been scammed by Monique. One mom claimed that Monique even texted her gun emoticons and threatened to burn down her house (again, not really something you are looking for in a good nanny).

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Berlin took all the information she'd gathered and went to the police. This is what the cop told her: "For someone as smart as you are for gathering all this information, you sure are stupid for getting a babysitter online." OUCH. Berlin wrote that she wanted to yell back at the officer, "You try being a 44-year-old working mom in a new area with no friends and lots of debt," but she managed to keep her cool.

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Because, as she now knows, the police officer was right in implying that parents should be as cautious as possible when hiring someone off the internet to watch their kids. Study the profiles, call the references, Google them, do whatever you can to make sure the person you are hiring really is the person they make themselves out to be. Because, bottom line, there's nothing more important than the safety of your kids (and keeping your credit cards safe isn't too bad a plan, either).

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