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What would you do if your home help was caught stealing?

(50 Posts)
llizzie2 Mon 19-Sep-22 00:39:45

In 2020 while my usual carer was away I employed a local cleaning lady for two weeks. I trusted her with my key. She was coming in while I was asleep and leaving before I woke up. She did not do the cleaning. One day the washing machine finishing woke me, and I watched as she sorted through my stuff. I had already noted things missing, but you cannot say anything because you have to prove you had the thing in the first place, and you get the same ''all old people think you are stealing from them'' so I said nothing, but told her not to come any more.
Last week I discovered that she had left the old people's home where she worked part time and set herself up in business as a cleaner. I cannot say anything, of course, no proof, but it breaks my heart to know that there are those who desperately need a home help and I cannot tell them.

Whiff Mon 19-Sep-22 06:20:41

llizzie2 you can contact the health department and the police anonymously as she would have had to gone through checks to be able to work in people's homes . Also she would have registered as either a sole trader or limited company to run her own business. As she needs to pay tax and NI.

You can do it via letter,email or phone call. Whichever you feel comfortable with.

BlueBelle Mon 19-Sep-22 07:23:01

I m afraid I would have said something proof or not but Whiffs advise is good for after the event

Beautful Mon 19-Sep-22 14:52:59

Fore armed is fore warned as they say ... if you are concerned could you contact citizens advice , not mentioning name but say what you know, hopefully they should beable to put you in the right direction who you need to contact, this could be done anonymously ... if nothing then fine ... if something untowards then you will feel better in helping others, also could could the non emergency police line explain your concerns, then hopefully will put you in the right direction, as this is a concern no comments please about police are too busy etc as they are there to help, as more than likey be a civilian on the phone & not a police officer

Katie59 Mon 19-Sep-22 17:35:36

I would change my home help, if an agency was involved I would mention my suspicions and let them deal with it. I really would not want to involve the police unless I was certain and it’s a big sum.

SecondhandRose Wed 21-Sep-22 11:08:25

Do you mean she stole your clothes?

MadeInYorkshire Wed 21-Sep-22 11:19:28


I m afraid I would have said something proof or not but Whiffs advise is good for after the event

No she needs absolutely nothing to work in people's homes!! Unless she is 'employed' by someone else when a DBS check would be required then she is free to do whatever she likes sadly .... she will probably set her hourly rate cheapish and get the jobs and then take advantage and earn her money that way - awful. I would be looking for her posts on social media and private messaging anyone who may respond ....

JeremyB Wed 21-Sep-22 11:32:55

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Amalegra Wed 21-Sep-22 11:39:35

This touched me as I remember a similar thing with my mums cleaner, them being particularly at risk of unscrupulous people. Dad had dementia and mum looked after him with the help of carers. She had had a TIA so needed help. A local charity helped her find a cleaner which she paid for herself. The cleaner had supposed to be DBS checked. I didn’t like the lady on sight actually. She was all over my parents like a rash, telling them (and me!) how wonderful they were. My Dad was very suggestible and she would spin hard luck stories about her private life so my Dad would give her money. Used to do errands to the shop for my mum and the change would be incorrect and she would blag ‘price rises’. Mum kept losing money too. She kept cash in odd places that the cleaner got to know. I lived quite a long way from mum and dad so only became aware of the situation on an extended six week visit when my dad was quite ill. I talked it over at length as mum was hesitant on how to deal with it. Told the cleaner we didn’t need her when I was here then contacted the charity and told them all including my suspicions. I recommended that they did not employ her again with which they agreed. No person should be conned like this especially when they are older, sick and vulnerable like my parents were. There are some despicable people in the world.

seadragon Wed 21-Sep-22 11:58:04

In Scotland, individuals setting up Companies offering caring services are required to register with the Scottish Social Services Council and are subject to vetting by the 'Disclosure and Barring Service' - this has been the case for some time - but I believe that this may not be the case in England yet. However the Care Quality Commission, possibly via the Care Home where she was previously employed.. may be interested to know of your concerns: Care Quality Commission
CQC, the independent regulator of health and social care in England · Use our inspection reports to find and compare services · For the public · Our latest ...

Sleepygran Wed 21-Sep-22 11:58:30

My cleaner stole from me.She’d been coming for a couple of years and I started to notice things going missing,never money but small jewellery items.I thought I was losing the plot and told her to look out for them when she was cleaning, never thinking she’d taken them!
Then later it dawned! I left out a piec of jewellery that I wasn’t fond of but it was silver.Went out,and when I returned it was gone.We checked everywhere,so my husband went and got the key back and told her not to come again and why.She cried and denied it.
A year later I saw in the local paper she’d been convicted of stealing from anther old couple,they set up cameras to catch her.Wish I’d done that!

Sleepygran Wed 21-Sep-22 11:59:24

I’ve got my precious ( to me) stuff in a safe now!

sazz1 Wed 21-Sep-22 12:07:07

I've worked in home care for various agencies and also as a private relief carer for various people in the past.
This is so common and so sad.
I was changing a bed in one house and 2 brand new sets of M&S duvet covers were not in the cupboard. Another house the joint of lamb was not in the freezer. Another house a pair of binoculars no longer in a bedroom drawer. Another house bottles of wine taken. On holiday with 2 disabled people the chambermaid used the lady's perfume and tipped the bottle over accidentally. Then her makeup set she bought for her daughter disappeared.
One house had cctv and told me they knew who was stealing but she was a very good carer so they wouldn't get rid of her. Another house told me she had lost a lot of her clothes - they never came back from being washed.
None of these people had dementia they were all physically disabled. It's very sad

HeavenLeigh Wed 21-Sep-22 12:15:50

This breaks my heart and makes my blood boil, sorry to hear you went through this, and sadly you do hear this quite a lot, unscrupulous people can set themselves up to work in vunerable peoples don’t have to have any checks at all, just advertise on social media, newsagents windows etc, it’s so wrong!

grandtanteJE65 Wed 21-Sep-22 12:23:07

You could report her to the relevant authorities, stating that she worked for you two years ago, and that things went missing in that time, but that you have no positive proof that she took them.

You are mentioning this now, because if, she was responsible for the things going missing, and no-one else but you had access to them at the time, you now regret only telling her not to continue coming, and hope that by reporting the matter, she can perhaps be prevented from helping herself to others' property.

But please, do not report this anonymously - I cannot see that an anonymous complaint can have any legal standing at all.

karmalady Wed 21-Sep-22 12:28:46

my sisters mi,l in a care home, had several things stolen from her room, while she was left by this care person, in the shower, money, ornaments, jewellery. It was reported without any proof. Nothing was done

Damdee Wed 21-Sep-22 12:43:55

Years ago this happened to my parents'. They called the police and the woman was arrested while at our family home. When they searched her home, very many items belonging to us were found. My MIL even had her diamond ring removed from her finger when she was very old and very poorly in hospital - obviously stolen and never recovered. It's shocking what goes on.

Sago Wed 21-Sep-22 12:48:17

I’m now waiting for the link to a cleaning/care company with vetted staff.

PollyDolly Wed 21-Sep-22 12:55:42

" She did not do the cleaning. One day the washing machine finishing woke me, and I watched as she sorted through my stuff. "
So, do I understand this correctly, was the person using your washing machine for her own laundry when she should have been cleaning?
Seeing someone going through my stuff would have been my prompt to chuck them out straight away and they wouldn't have got paid either!
The problem here is, if the person concerned hasn't been convicted then there's nothing on record to flag up on their DBS record and they can set up a business and continue ripping people off!
Dreadful, disgusting behaviour and clearly taking advantage of vulnerable people.

biglouis Wed 21-Sep-22 13:02:58

Technology is your friend here. On several occasions I have had conversations with people watched over by a small battery powered camera on a high shelf which they did not notice. On another I had security footage of my neighbour fly tipping rubbish onto my garden. You cannot introduce the recording as evidence in court but you can use the existence of it to frighten the living daylights out of people by threatening to expose them, or put it on social media. My neighbour was scared to the degree that neither he nor his wife have called at my door in the intervening 3 years.

JDC3 Wed 21-Sep-22 13:05:04

Old, vulnerable or disabled people have many needs, including the need for company and practical help; many carers do excellent work, but some take advantage. Honesty very obviously comes top of the list of credentials and needs to be checked - just as one gets checked before going into school to help children. I would say therefore that if anybody has doubts or suspicions about any adult working with vulnerable people, questions need to be asked in the right places. It's a sad fact but not everybody goes into these roles with the best of motives. As well as financial loss, there is the question of safety and the question of emotional trauma. Even having a hydrangea bush dug out of my front garden upset me and that really doesn't matter in the great scheme of things.

Riggie Wed 21-Sep-22 13:14:18

For those mentioning DBS checks this is what they show

details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings held on central police records (apart from protected convictions and cautions).

Sadly most cases of cleaners/carers stealing don't get to that point.

albertina Wed 21-Sep-22 13:50:39

I worked for many years as a mobile manicurist mainly with older clients. I was horrified by the number of them who seemed to be being ripped off by cleaners, carers, gardeners etc.
There are some despicable people out there. Much good may it do them.

Missingmoominmama Wed 21-Sep-22 14:14:06

Someone at the supported living place my grandma was in took a diamond pin. The diamond was a full carat. She may have given it to someone when she became confused- I don’t know, but they shouldn’t have accepted it.

Stillstanding Wed 21-Sep-22 14:23:54

I have had my cleaner/carer for over 15 years and I pay her travelling time since she moved as I so dread the idea of finding a new person. I have experienced most of the scams mentioned on this thread. Some people seem to want small souvenirs of their customers, One trick is to put small items in a nearby drawer to see if it is missed and then take it if it is not. If it is missed it is soon "found" by the "honest" cleaner. One council official told me it is because they are on low pay as though that is an excuse. One abusive cleaner, who came only twice before I fired her, had been prosecuted by a neighbouring borough by her own admission. Abuse of the elderly is so commonplace now it is even happening in hospitals. I saw a nurse hit a patient on a heart failure ward but who will take any notice of me?