Parents Hire a Private Investigator To Check on Nanny After Finding What Looked Like a Fake ID

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mom waves to nanny
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Given that the US is facing a full-on child care crisis, exacerbated by the current health crisis, most parents who have nannies they can rely on and afford are thanking their lucky stars. But trust is a major factor between any caregiver and parent, and for one Redditor, that was broken when the parent went to put cash in the nanny's wallet and found what appeared to be a fake ID. The original poster (OP) took to the Am I the A--hole subreddit to ask if it was wrong to hire a private investigator to check into the caregiver.

  • The OP shared that the nanny, who is in her late 20s, watches their 3-year-old and 1-year-old 10 to 20 hours per week.

    "Recently I came back and it was time to pay her, but she was in the middle of bathing the kids so said, 'Can you just put it in my purse?'" wrote the OP.

    "I said no problem. I went downstairs and found her purse but it was a little cluttered so I put it in her wallet in her purse so it would be easy to find and count. When I opened her wallet to put it inside, I couldn't help but see her ID in the transparent front pocket, and it had her photo but her name was completely different from the one she had given us and we'd background checked when we had hired her."

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  • The OP said that the nanny has been great, so they didn't want to fire her without looking into the situation further.

    "This meant she was either using a fake name with us or carrying a fake ID, so we had to see if she was trying to hide something relevant," noted the OP. "She's someone who spends prolonged time alone with our kids. And as great as she seems to us, our kids can't really talk yet. So, we can only know so much."

  • That's when they decided to hire a private investigator.

    The rationale: "Whatever story she gave us if we confronted her, we'd then take steps to verify it anyways. So, it was best not to give her the opportunity to hide anything or backtrack."

    According to the OP, the PI discovered that the nanny's reason for having a fake ID was super-benign: She "had the ID to circumvent a bureaucratic rule about student living arrangements for the graduate school at her university (something like she wanted to stay on the undergraduate campus when she became a graduate student so used an undergrad friend's name on her ID to register for housing)," the parent explained. "Not a big deal."

  • Sadly, the couple's 3-year-old overheard them talking about the investigation and said something to the nanny that tipped her off.

    "We explained that we had become aware, looked into it, but it was all fine now," wrote the OP. "She was very upset, said it was none of our business why she would have two IDs, and it was a violation of her privacy to look into her life instead of just asking her. Now she's even considering quitting."

  • The OP wrote that they feel awful but have to weigh the move against how they'd feel had they not done their due diligence.

    "We're conflicted now, because she has always been wonderful," the OP noted before turning it over to fellow Redditors for comments.

  • Some people noted that the OP is a jerk for opening the nanny's wallet in the first place.

    "In what universe is 'put this in my purse' an excuse to dig through someone's wallet?" one commenter asked. "If someone asks you to put something in their room do you start looking through their underwear drawer too? I understand you just trying to protect your kids by making sure she wasn't doing anything terrible, but I don't like how people aren't addressing the fact that you went through her wallet like some kind of freak instead of just stuffing the money in a pocket like a normal person."

    "She never lied about herself or her name to you," another person noted. "She only had a friend's ID for housing purposes. That really was a violation of her privacy, and you should have just asked her about the ID when you saw it."

     A third commented, "You're making a huge leap from 'you have the right to know what her deal is' to 'you should feel free to send out a PI to trawl through her social situation, perhaps follow her, talk to her friends etc.' Being a nanny doesn't mean you consent to any and all investigations the parents subjectively deem to be necessary for their comfort."

  • Others sided with the OP. 

    "Those are your babies," wrote one Redditor. "Nothing is more important than their safety and well being."

    Another person, who identified herself as a part-time nanny, wrote this:

    "You left your kids with her. All bets are off. My last family had cameras that they did not alert me to (in addition to a background check I completed when I was hired). I only knew of their existence because the grandma accidentally let something slip that clued me in. I felt very weird knowing I'd done stuff like adjust my bra and pick a wedgie on camera, but hey. I still get it and don't fault them."

    No matter where people stand on this issue, they'll likely agree this is a perfect example of why it's so important for parents and caregivers to communicate and set expectations from the start.