while in my last year at uni I was trying to earn a little extra money and decided to post ads online for babysitting and dog-walking services in my local area. Most people with ads on there had put a picture of themselves and so did I (logic being that parents would want to check out potential babysitters by appearance too) and most people put contact numbers on there too, so I also did that, thinking it might give potential customers more points of contact than just messaging through the ad site.
So, within about 45 minutes of posting this ad, I am downstairs cooking dinner, I hear my phone ringing in my bedroom but am tied up with hot pans on the stove etc. so I left it, annoyed that I had missed a potential customer.
However, I hear my phone ringing again, and again, and AGAIN. I dash up as soon as I can free myself from cooking and go and pick up the phone. When I pick up all I can hear is heavy breathing, so naturally after I don’t get a reply I hang up. The phone rings again as soon as I put it down. I pick up again and eventually a guy replies.
The guy starts off normal and I figured that perhaps it had just been a bad line before. He first explains that he has two kids under five and then asks me If I think I can handle them. Having experience with (some pretty shittily behaved) kids in the past I say yes. He then asks me if I stay overnight when babysitting (this pulled up a red flag in my mind) and I firmly say no.
After this, he then goes silent again and all I hear is some heavy breathing, I ask if he is still there and then suddenly he says “are you a virgin?” and I hung up. The phone keeps ringing and ringing and ringing for another hour non stop. He had withheld his number so I couldn’t specifically block that number but then I found the function to block withheld numbers on my phone, did it, deleted my number from the ad site and then proceeded to message every other person on there in my local area with a babysitting ad to warn them, turns out some of them had had similar experiences.
I would never have fallen for the “do you stay overnight?” part, but it made me shudder to think of teenagers or vulnerable adults falling for it and what could have happened to them. If he hadn’t withheld his number I would have reported him in an instant. I felt so unsafe and was jumping at shadows for the rest of that evening.