What to do if You Suspect Your Cleaner is Stealing

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Jan 01, 2011 | Mark Stevens
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Hiring a cleaning service can be a helpful, stress-relieving act. It can free you from time-consuming activities like making beds and tidying up, and allow you more free time to spend on hobbies, relaxing, and your family. However, if you don’t fully trust your cleaning service, or if you suspect them of stealing, that once relaxed feeling of carefreeness they provided will vanish instantly and transform into stress and worry.

Any time you allow a worker to be alone and unsupervised in your home – whether it’s a service technician or a cleaner – there are risks involved. Even when you find a cleaner you feel is trustworthy, problems can arise.

Unlike, say, landscapers, a cleaner is often given a key or left alone in your home for long periods of time. Though he or she may not be looking to steal, if they come across valuable items or money the temptation may be too much to resist. If you are suspicious of your cleaner, the following are some steps you can take.

Verify the Theft

If you suspect that your cleaner may be stealing from you, it’s important to gather actual proof. You may have spotted some things missing, but this alone is not enough to prove that theft has occurred ... or that the cleaner is the person responsible.

One way to check is to leave out a certain amount of money -- not in an obvious place that makes it look like bait, but somewhere slightly out of the way yet easy to find. Make sure you know exactly how much money there is. Do this when you know that only the cleaning person or staff will be home. Check the money after the staff is gone, before anyone else has had time to enter your home.

Alternatively, if you want actual proof of the theft and to see who’s doing it, you can install surveillance cameras. These cameras are not too expensive and can be hidden in a variety of discreet locations. However, you’ll need a minimal knowledge of computers and technology to set up the cameras.

What to Do Once You Have Proof

Once you have proof that a cleaner or number of cleaners are behind the thefts, you have two possible courses of action:

1. If you did not hire the cleaner through an agency, contact the police. You might be able to file a report online.

2. If you used an agency, either contact the manager or go right to the police.

Tips

It’s important to know your cleaning employee’s full name, telephone number, and address.

When you begin to notice missing items, keep a record. This will help you verify exactly what has been taken and will provide details which you can pass on to the police.

Confronting the cleaner directly is unwise because they may disappear without returning any of the valuables.

When you hire a cleaner or a cleaning service, it’s important to make sure they are reliable. This includes checking references and verifying that they are both bonded and insured. If so, you have a much better chance of recovering your possessions or at least receiving reimbursement.

Updated December 20, 2017.

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