Meeting new people is exciting, but you should always be cautious when interacting with someone you don’t know. Use your best judgment and put your safety first, whether you are exchanging initial messages or meeting in person. While you can’t control the actions of others, there are things you can do to help you stay safe during The Learning Match experience.
Never Send Money or Share Financial Information
Never send money, especially over wire transfer, even if the person claims to be in an emergency. Wiring money is like sending cash — it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace where the money went. Never share information that could be used to access your financial accounts. If another user asks you for money, report it to us immediately.
For tips on avoiding romance scams, check out some advice from the U.S Federal Trade Commission on the FTC website.
Protect Your Personal Information
Never share personal information, such as your social security number, home or work address, or details about your daily routine (e.g., that you go to a certain gym every Monday) with people you don’t know. If you are a parent, limit the information that you share about your children on your profile and in early communications. Avoid sharing details such as your children’s names, where they go to school, or their ages or genders.
Stay on the Platform
Keep conversations on the TLM platform while you’re getting to know someone. Users with bad intentions often try to move the conversation to text, messaging apps, email, or phone right away.
Report All Suspicious and Offensive Behavior
You know when someone’s crossed the line and when they do, we want to know about it. Block and report anyone that violates our terms. Here are some examples of violations:
- Requests for money or donations prior to performing any services
- Underage users
- Harassment, threats, and offensive messages
- Inappropriate or harmful behavior during or after meeting in person
- Fraudulent profiles
- Spam or solicitation including links to commercial websites or attempts to sell products or services
- You can report any concerns about suspicious behavior by sending a message to INFO@THELEARNINGMATCH.COM
Protect Your Account
Be sure to pick a strong password, and always be careful when logging into your account from a public or shared computer. TLM will never send you an email asking for your username and password information — if you receive an email asking for account information, report it immediately.
Tips for Meeting in Person
Don’t Be In A Rush
Take your time and get to know the other person before agreeing to meet or chat off TLM. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to screen for any red flags or personal dealbreakers. A phone or video call can be a useful screening tool before meeting.
Meet in Public and Stay in Public
If possible, meet for the first few times in a public place, such as a park or other outdoor space.
Steps For Safely Hiring An Educator
Be clear on your needs so you'll hear from the right caregivers
What should you include in your job posting?
- Share a little about your family
- Outline the educational requirements in detail
- Mention any additional benefits you offer
Review caregiver profiles to narrow your list
Once you have a list of candidates, you'll want to look at their profiles carefully.
What to look for:
- Is the Educator’s experience relevant to your needs?
- Do they have safety verifications?
- What do other families say?
- Have they verified their phone number and email?
Connect with your top matches
Take your time getting to know your final candidates. Use our site so you don't share your contact info before you're ready. Then move on to phone or video interviews and arrange face-to-face meetings with your top choices. Don't be afraid to ask tough questions so you can see how they react to difficult situations.
What to look for:
- Are they responsive?
- Do they answer questions directly?
- Are they respectful and professional?
Check references and background checks
Once you find your top choice, dig deeper into their past and search news articles, government websites, and social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Assess their references and run a background check. Even though background checks aren't always perfect, have limitations, and can't guarantee future behavior, they make good sense.
Things to do:
- Run a background check for up-to-date information on criminal records, sexual offenses, and driving history that you can keep on file.
- Ask for 2-3 references. Schedule phone calls to chat with them live, preparing questions in advance
Finally, always trust your gut. If something feels "off," don't ignore it. Talk to your Educator or report them to TLM.
Steps for Educators to Safely Connect with Families
Make the right connections online and offline
Send messages through TLM’s Site instead of using your personal email or phone number. That way, you only share your contact information if and when you feel comfortable.
If a Family asks for your private information such as your Social Security number, bank account number or credit card before you've completed a thorough interviewing and hiring process, hold off. Even after you've completed the hiring process, be very careful before sharing such private information. If you're pressured, cross the family off your list.
Be very wary of any advance payments, large checks, requests to accept deliveries or make purchases, and offers to hire you without any vetting at all. These may be an indication of a scam.
When you interview with a potential Family for the first time, try to do it over a phone or video conference, and when you finally decided to meet in person, choose a public space and ask to see identification to confirm you're meeting with the right person.
Do your homework before accepting an offer
Online and third-party searches on a potential Family’s name can reveal much-needed background information. Places to look: news articles, government websites, and social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.
If the Education Seeker’s home will be where you will be providing educational services, get the names of all adults who'll have access to the residence. Then, check them out online to make sure you'll be comfortable when they're around.
Share your schedule and locations you will be providing educational services with your friends and family and let them know if those details change. Keep a charged cell phone with you at all times to stay in touch.
If something just doesn't feel right, trust your instincts. Send a report to TLM. In the event of an emergency such as threats from others or a health crisis, call 911 immediately.