21-Year-Old Porn Producing Babysitter Pleads Guilty

October 12, 2018

At 21 years old, Ryan Michael Spencer seemed to be a normal young man with hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher. He worked as an instructional aide at Mar Vista Elementary School in Santa Cruz, California, and as a cabin leader for Outdoor Science School. He was enrolled in college and babysat for families in the Santa Cruz area.

But Ryan also had a side business of producing and distributing child pornography. He deceived the families he worked for and made their children his victims. And just wait until you hear the charges he plead guilty to…

The full list includes conspiracy to distribute and receive, possession, felony contempt of court, and two counts of production of child pornography.

You can read the FBI criminal complaints against Ryan Spencer here (WARNING: graphic and disturbing content)

Ryan admitted that he produced pornographic images featuring him and more than a dozen children who he babysat and was a camp counselor to. He also conspired with another convicted producer of child pornography who also moonlighted as a babysitter in the same area.

The two men frequently traded images and planned to distribute the images to other sources using the Kik Messenger app. And in the spring of 2016, Ryan filled a hard drive with over 30,000 images and videos of child pornography.

And even though he spent years molesting children and producing child pornography, Ryan stayed under the radar of the families in his hometown. It’s possible he even got recommended by families to pick up more babysitter jobs.

This horrible story is why it’s so important to make sure you really know who you’re letting around your children. And why you can’t always “just” trust a friend’s recommendation. I mean…imagine for a millisecond this was one of your kids… you’d give anything to rewind the clock. Ask yourself, is anything really worth risking the safety of the ones you love?

Ryan will spend the next 30 years in prison, but the damage done to the children and the leaked images will haunt his victims and their parents forever.


Mr. Right Cheated Her Out of $75,000 Before They Even Met… How Online Dating Is Putting Everyone at Risk

October 4, 2018

If you’ve been single in the past 15 years, you’ve probably at least tried online dating. The time and effort we invest in going out to meet people can be exhausting. But picking up your phone and scrolling through potential Prince Charmings from the comfort of your sofa? Well, what harm can it do?

Turns out…plenty!

You probably know meeting complete strangers on the Internet can be very dangerous but have you seen what’s happened to these people? Just look at these shocking stories…

Look what a Baltimore woman discovered, when she met Tomas Haybert, the “perfect man” on Tinder. He said all the right things. He sent flowers to her office. He even sent her a ring. They spent hours texting, chatting on the phone, and even video chatting!

Haybert told the woman he was an interior decorator, in Paris working on a project, and was having problems at work. But that’s when things took a turn for the worst.

He told her all she needed to do was accept a package for him and promised to pay her back any shipping fees. The woman unexpectedly ended up being charged over $75,000 in shipping charges, late fees, and taxes.

You’ve probably seen the statistics that Online Dating is now the #1 way that couples in the US meet, and many end up married! But it’s also an easy place for scammers to troll online and bait their victims. In fact, the FBI reports that $75,000 is around the average loss for romance scam victims.

Think about it…they know exactly what you’re looking for and can easily become the “perfect guy” by text or chat. And pretty soon, he has you worried about him and wanting to help.

This poor woman was robbed, and she never even met the man in person.

Believe it or not…she got off lucky.

Look at this story… of seven robberies in Houston, Texas, where a man chats with his victims on a dating app, suggests they meet in person, and when they do… robs them at gunpoint.

And over in Liberty, TX, a woman got involved with a dangerous man online who she decided to invite into her home. When she wasn’t looking, he stole her new car, cash, and other valuables around her house.

Related: Is Online Dating Really Safe?

What can you do? Simple: put yourself and your safety first. The risk is just too great, and with each day, criminals are learning how to lure their victims using the latest online dating technologies.

But there is something you can do. And it’s so simple.

Ask for their SafetyPIN and then go verify it here.

Verifying their SafetyPIN is a great way to know they are who they say they are, there’s nothing dangerous or fraudulent in their background, and they’ve met all the requirements of our proprietary behavioral algorithm.

And if they don’t have one, ask them to apply.

It’s only $1 to apply and $6 for the first 6 months. And most applications are approved in 24 hours or less. If they aren’t willing to spend $7, and wait a day or two, it’s time to swipe left. Period.


What if That New Babysitter…. Wasn’t Quite Who You Thought She Was?

September 27, 2018

Your regular sitter called in sick, and no one else you know can make it. And the event this evening is too critical to miss. So you pull out your phone and dig out that app you downloaded…

You never thought you’d actually hire someone from one of those apps… not a babysitter anyway. It’s one thing to let someone clean your gutters, but put your kids to bed? How can you possibly know who to trust?

You survive your night out, and, more importantly, it seems like your kids are fine and fast asleep. Phew!

Or at least you thought everything was cool…

But the next day, you get a call from your bank, letting you know that there is suspicious activity in your account.

What if your sitter stole from you? You’ve got cash all around your house, and maybe some gift cards too. What if she took it all, right in front of your young child? Sadly, this isn’t just a “What if.” It happened to a West Seattle mom not too long ago.

And being robbed by someone you invited into your home is terrible. But what if the worst happened? We’ve all seen the headlines and heard the nightmares… what if this happened to your baby?

Babysitters who steal here and there usually fly under the radar. They look and sound great, seeming well-educated with a cute profile picture, but they’re hard to spot.

And then there are the pros…

They can leave little to no trace behind them, changing their name online, profile pictures, and even their phone number. You can protect yourself, your home, and your family from scammers before you meet them in real life.

Jenny Thompson, the founder of SafetyPIN, has first-hand experience with a sitter scammer for her dogs, Django and Lulu. She arrived home from her trip to a scene she never expected… and when she asked for her money back, the sitter came up with an elaborate scheme and faked her own death a few days later! Thank goodness her dogs were okay, but what if someone trusted this woman with children?!

Related: Jenny’s Crazy Sitter Story

That experience led to Jenny creating SafetyPIN, the virtual trust badge that makes it easy to know who you can trust online—and offline.

Ask for a SafetyPIN, and verify it to make sure that we’ve awarded them a valid SafetyPIN after processing them through our state of the art security screening process, the most advanced algorithm built to date for much more than a simple background check. It’s comprised of a criminal background check, a financial screening specifically engineered to weed out scammers, and an identity verification so you know who you’re dealing with. It also utilizes our proprietary method of analyzing an applicant’s behavioral profile, something we created with criminal profilers and an Ivy League clinical psychologist.

So the next time that you’re browsing an app for your a new babysitter, pass on anyone who does not have a SafetyPIN or won’t apply for one. It’s not worth the risk. It’s simple… without a SafetyPIN, you don’t know if they can be trusted. Don’t put yourself – or your family – at risk.

Related: Need a babysitter with a SafetyPIN? Check out Nanno and Napp, two of our partners.


5 Uses for a SafetyPIN You Probably Never Thought Of…

September 25, 2018

After you hire someone with a SafetyPIN, it can be hard to imagine doing anything without it…

And with so many ways to reap the benefits of our unique SafetyPIN security verification process, you’ll definitely want to know about these 5 unexpected uses for a SafetyPIN, especially when you can still get yours for just a $1 application fee.

1 – Hiring a Tutor 

Go out and find the very best tutor to give your kid lessons. There’s no reason to settle for second best instruction. But there IS a reason to make sure your child is safe. SafetyPIN is also a must for music lessons, sports coaches, gaming coaches… anyone who’s working with your child and will be alone with them at all.

2 – Finding a Roommate

Living with a roommate is an awesome way to cut housing costs by sharing your space with another person. It’s super important to like the person you’re living with. Even more important is feeling confident that you can trust them… with your valuables, your money, your pets, and even your life.

3 – Buying Something on Craigslist

There’s really no way to say for sure who you’re buying from on Craigslist. It’s one thing if you’re buying a baseball glove and can meet up at a local Starbucks with lots of people around… but what if you’re buying a sofa? Or a large home appliance like a washer or dryer? If the person you’re dealing with turns out to be creepy, you might find yourself compromised. Always ask for a SafetyPIN anytime you’re dealing with a seller online to avoid uncomfortable situations.

4 – Adopting a Pet

Adoption is one of the most rewarding ways to find a furry friend. But many rescues have extensive and often invasive screening measures in place. After all, they want to make sure the pup doesn’t end up in another bad situation. And it makes sense because shelter animals or those taken in by rescues have seen the worst in people already. During the interview process, make sure to provide your SafetyPIN to give them peace of mind that you’ll be a great home.

In fact, a member of our team just brought home “Batch” from a shelter and proudly shared her SafetyPIN to expedite the process.

5 – Peer-To-Peer Car Rental

It’s pretty cool to live in a world where we can just skip the car rental counter and book a nice car from someone local on an app, right? If you decide to join in on this latest trend, be sure to make a SafetyPIN a non-negotiable before letting anyone drive it.


How to Instantly Boost Your Credibility Online

September 20, 2018

Uploading a photo of yourself to your SafetyPIN profile is one of the best ways to boost your credibility online and increase trust between you and the person you’re about to meet.

You see, it’s a deal sealer when the other person can verify your identity. After you upload your photo to your SafetyPIN profile, anyone who verifies your SafetyPIN will be able to see your image.

How To Quickly and Easily Upload Your Photo To Your Profile

  • Log in to your account at app.getasafetypin.com

  • In the upper right-hand corner, click on the drop-down menu beside your email and click “settings”

  • Upload your image by selecting “choose file”

What Makes a Good Profile Photo?

  • Use an up to date image that actually looks like you. It should reflect how you look on a daily basis – your hairstyle, glasses, make-up, etc.

  • Make sure the image shows your entire face, and that your face takes up the majority of the frame space.  No full-body shots that leave people squinting to try and make out your face.

  • Wear something you’d wear to meet in real life, so they’ll know it’s you when they see you.

Remember, when someone verifies your SafetyPIN, they’ll see your name, profile picture, and the city and state that you live. That’s it. We keep your information 100% secure using up to-to-the-minute encryption technology.


Is Online Dating Really Safe?

September 19, 2018

It’s 6:16 pm, and the only thing more pressing than your date tonight is the painful wait for the flat iron to heat up.  What makes the excitement of butterflies so addicting? There’s really no magic about it, you found someone online, and you think he just might be the one.

You arrive at the bar before him, order a glass of wine, and subtly check your hair in the back of the bar that conviently doubles as a mirror. You’re ready.

“I’m here, where are you at?” he texts you. You spin around and look towards the entrance to the bar. Your first impression is that he’s much shorter than he said he was. But that’s okay.

Then he sits down, and a couple of drinks in, you’ve got plenty to talk about…. Until the guy sitting next to him spins around and hits your date in the back, knocking him forward, and spilling his beer on your shirt.  You jump back, then start to laugh, then stop, realizing that he just threatened the guy – for a silly accident.

Realizing that he has a temper, you excuse yourself, then get into a cab and head straight over to your best friend’s house, who is waiting to cheer you up with stories of her own bad dates.

Alright, let’s admit it – it’s pretty fun to sit around and swap bad date stories…  Even the most awkward moments, the ones that you wish you could forget. You’ve probably discovered that everyone has been there. But have you considered that maybe they were just really lucky?

Meeting potential dates on the internet comes with risks. And unfortunately, some aren’t as harmless as a few weird moments you’ll laugh about later.

The reality is that harmless situations can get creepy – or even dangerous… fast.

Like when you leave a date thinking “well that’s not THE ONE”… and then you notice he’s following you down the street…

To stay safe dating online, you MUST have peace of mind that you can trust who you are talking to. There’s a big difference between going on an awkward date with a harmless guy and getting trapped with someone dangerous….

When Tinder Turns Tragic

They’re calling him the “Tinder Serial Killer, ” but his name is Daniel Drayton.

He’s the type of guy who brags about his murders, and now he’s boasting that he killed 7 women. He used Tinder, a popular online dating app, to meet his victims. The charges alone are hideous. Attempted murder. Penetration with a foreign object. False imprisonment. Drayton wasn’t just killing women; he was kidnapping and torturing them first.

7 women who just wanted to find someone special thought it would be safe to meet this murderer in real life. 7 women figured they had nothing to lose, but ended up dead.

So, just how safe is it, really, to go out drinking with a stranger?

That’s the thing – you just don’t know.

One Swipe Right Could be a Dead Wrong Choice

At what point do you think the Tinder Serial Killer’s victims knew they were in trouble? Maybe they felt something a little off at dinner. Maybe they got a bad feeling once they were alone in the car with him. Or maybe they didn’t see it coming at all…

They could have met up for some drinks … had dinner … gone for a walk near the park…

Whatever they did, it must have gone well enough for Drayton to get these women alone, vulnerable and unprotected.

Wit and charisma are common characteristics of the most dangerous people. Look at Ted Bundy. He’s one of the most infamous serial killers in history, and he was notoriously charming.

Please don’t ignore your intuition when it comes to online dating. But don’t rely solely on it either. The consequences could, literally, be deadly.

No SafetyPIN, No Date

Online dating has become the number one way people meet their spouse.

It’s become so common to date online that we often forget that it can be dangerous. That’s what’s so scary.

Look, no one’s telling you to stop. We’re just telling you to date smart. This is why a SafetyPIN should be a non-negotiable. Before you take any online connection into a real-world setting (or at least before you’re alone in a car or your home!), ask for a SafetyPIN – and share yours. Get one for yourself so people know you can be trusted, and don’t meet anyone who won’t share theirs.

SafetyPIN is the easiest, most reliable way to safely move an online interest to a real-life romance.

SafetyPIN Makes Dating Fun, Not Dangerous

SafetyPIN created the most rigorous 4-pronged screening process available. We review over 10,000 data sources, and screen someone’s criminal and financial history. What really makes SafetyPIN stand out though, is the proprietary behavioral review we developed.

SafetyPIN is the only security verification that includes this behavioral profile. Because just because someone doesn’t have a criminal record yet doesn’t mean they’re safe.

Our behavior profile helps weed out people that put you at risk – of harm or fraud. SafetyPIN puts YOU in control, so you can choose your matches wisely and date safely.

Before you even settle on what bar to hit for happy hour, ask for their SafetyPIN. And then verify it to make sure it’s theirs and that it’s up to date. That margarita will taste a lot better when you trust that you’re safe.


Is Your Safety An Illusion?

September 13, 2018

Have you ever seen a master illusionist do a card trick? One second, the queen of hearts is in your hand, and the next, it’s behind your sister’s left ear. Card tricks, like many illusions, are designed for you to walk away from the experience wondering…

“How did I miss that?”

The illusionist meant to deceive you. He was doing his job.

Unfortunately, there are people who use the Internet with the exact same goal. If you’ve ever talked to someone who comes across as Prince Charming online, who seemed just too good to be true, he probably is… like the story of the “Dine and Dash Dater.”

That’s not to say everyone looking for a date online is out to scam you. But you should realize that very few dating apps run a background checks on their users – or even give the option, so it’s important that you always put your own safety first. And the first step is to make sure you’ve verified their identity and their background before meeting up in real life.

Catfishing is one thing. But you certainly don’t want to risk your online dating encounter turning into an armed robbery!

And it certainly doesn’t stop with dating…

Offering a Background Check Doesn’t Mean It’s Required

Did you hear about Gus Gus, the poor Bulldog who died in the care of a highly rated sitter he found on Rover?

But wait… that sitter must have been background checked to be able to take care of Gus Gus in the first place, right?

Not necessarily. Many sites, including Rover, make their background checks optional for sitters. Only those displaying a badge on their profile have gone through a background check.

And last year it was discovered that Home Advisor was only doing background checks in certain states, even though their commercials brag that they offer this service.

But even when they do a check, it’s not often as thorough as you’ve been led to believe…

Popular Background Checks Can Fall Short… Very Short

Some sites do background check all their service providers, but most standard checks are very limited so you still can’t be sure.

Did you know…

  • Most background checks stop at the county line, but most criminals don’t. If your babysitter committed a crime in the next county over, it might not show up. Isn’t that scary?
  • Plus, hardly anyone does regular re-checks. Who’s to say that someone with a clean record today won’t commit a crime in six months?
  • Every state has different laws regarding background checks, and available information on a person’s criminal history varies by state. Even we were shocked at first to learn that the most commonly used databases have less than half of US states reporting to them.
  • And even then… up to 40% of all crimes go unreported, and that number is as high as 70% for sex crimes! Believe it or not, only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual violations are even reported to the police.
And that’s why we developed our proprietary behavioral review… to weed out the people who might cause you harm but haven’t been caught… yet.

Do Not Trust, And Always Verify

Keep in mind; you should never rely on background checks as a replacement for your own judgment about who to meet up with in real life. If your spidey senses are tingling, or if something just doesn’t seem right, move on.

If you suspect someone you met online is too good to be true, trust your gut. And even if no red flags are going off, you need to protect yourself.

So before you meet someone in person, just ask:

“Hey, here’s my SafetyPIN… can you send me yours?”

Relying on other background checks may mislead you into doing business with a conman or a criminal. Asking for someone’s SafetyPIN is the only proven fast track to trust.

Related: The 5 easiest things to remember if you feel awkward about asking for someone’s SafetyPIN


The 5 Easiest Things to Remember If You Feel Awkward Asking For Someone’s SafetyPIN

September 11, 2018

How many times have you taken a recommendation from a friend for a sitter or a handyman? Ever been introduced to someone on a blind date?

Surely you didn’t verify their identity and check their background before going forward. And that’s absolutely expected because the recommendation came from a friend, right? And…you trust your friend’s recommendation.

But when things don’t go as expected, and you end up with a bad experience, that can get tricky. Imagine the babysitter, who came recommended, ends up being a bad influence and offers pot to your kids. You might later regret relying on word of mouth.

Remember… just because someone you know had a good experience doesn’t guarantee you will, too. Asking for someone’s SafetyPIN doesn’t make you a jerk, it makes you smart. Better safe than sorry…

Here are a few simple things to remember if asking for a SafetyPIN feels awkward:

  • Your #1 responsibility is to keep yourself, your family, and your home safe. Asking for someone’s SafetyPIN is the only proven fast track to trust.
  • Up to 40% of crimes go unreported. That means the person you’re considering MAY have stolen something or hurt someone and never even been charged…
  • If they act offended or just try to assure you you can trust them, that might be a sign that you should choose someone else. No recommendation is worth your safety.
  • After you verify someone’s SafetyPIN, you can feel great about recommending them to your friends and family every time, since every SafetyPIN regularly rechecks our members.
  • If someone you met online hasn’t applied for a SafetyPIN, you can send them the link or even for just $1!

And if they are denied a SafetyPIN after going through our comprehensive 4-pronged screening process, then you can rest assured that just by asking for a SafetyPIN, you’ve made yourself — the internet — safer.


How To Download Your Badge in 3 Simple Steps

September 10, 2018

As soon as you’ve been approved for your own unique SafetyPIN, you can immediately begin displaying your badge on any profile you own on the internet. Showing your badge to someone online is the easiest way to show them that they can choose you because they can trust you.

If you’re selling in the gig economy, your badge is a great way to attract new customers… and if you’re working, use your SafetyPIN to let potential employers know they can trust you.  You can even use it for online dating!

Related: Do I Need a SafetyPIN?

Here’s how to download your badge in 3 simple steps…

  1. Log in to your account at app.getasafetypin.com
  2. Under your profile picture on the left side of the dashboard, click “View/Share Badge”
  3. Depending on where you’d like to display your badge, you have a few different options:
  • Copy and paste: paste directly into emails, or documents
  • Copy link: send the direct link to verify your badge, best for text messages and chat applications
  • Embed in website: copy and paste the HTML code to embed your SafetyPIN’s badge directly into a website
  • Send in an email: we’ll send your SafetyPIN badge to anyone you wish, conveniently through your dashboard
  • Download: direct download an image of your badge to display on social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, and on any dating website.

When you share your badge with someone, they are prompted to verify your SafetyPIN number through our secure website (to ensure no one else is using your SafetyPIN). They will only be able to see your image, name, and the city and state that you live. Your data will remain safely stored.

So what are you waiting for? Add your SafetyPIN badge to all your profiles and share it anywhere you want someone you met to know they can trust you.


The Vanishing $7,000 Thumbtack Contractor

September 7, 2018

Meet Peggy, a homeowner who was looking for someone to come and remodel her bathroom. Looking for a quick and easy solution, she turned to Thumbtack, an online service that matches customers with local professionals, to find a contractor in her area who could help her with the job.

Thumbtack matched her to the local booking agency “Rent-A-Hubby.” After a brief conversation with the owner of the company to determine her project’s needs, a contractor arrived at her door. He got right to work, racking up a bill of $7,000.

The results were mediocre at best.


Photos taken after the $7,000 remodel of Peggy’s bathroom was completed

Peggy called Rent-A-Hubby’s owner back to discuss her bad experience and, shortly after, another contractor arrived at her door. This time, it was a tile specialist who took one look at the condition of the bathroom and told her there was no way to salvage it and that everything would have to be replaced.

Feeling mislead, Peggy contacted Rent-A-Hubby’s owner again, this time with no response. Despite additional outreach attempts from Thumbtack, and even local news stations, no one from Rent-A-Hubby ever picked up the phone.

You decide: was Rent-A-Hubby owned and operated by the man Peggy spoke to on the phone?

How can you be so sure?

Unsuccessful in reaching Rent-A-Hubby, Thumbtack removed them from their platform entirely.

Let’s rewind. After a bad experience with Rent-A-Hubby, Peggy called the company back. She tried to work things out, giving the benefit of the doubt by accepting a second visit from another contractor in an effort to fix the problem. She never requested a refund, despite the crappy job the first contractor did.

But before all of this, Peggy trusted that Thumbtack would lead her to a safe and reliable contractor to get the job done. Instead, she spoke to someone whose identity she had not verified, who sent a bad contractor to her house, racked up a $7,000 bill, and then vanished.

We created SafetyPIN Technologies to help make the Internet a safer place for people like Peggy, who would be best served knowing that the person they spoke to on the phone is who they actually are.

Related: What is a SafetyPIN?

So before you let anyone into your house, no matter how small the task, simply ask:

“Hey… can you send me your SafetyPIN?”

If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t be dealing with them in the first place. Verifying someone’s SafetyPIN is the only way to know that who you met online is who they actually are in real life.