How to be sure home service workers have a clean background

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Two people are behind bars, but Wichita Falls Police are still searching for a third wanted suspect in connection to a burglary that ended with an 83-year-old man being knocked out with a brick.

Police say that victim is a Wichita County employee who walked into his home being burglarized. After chasing the people out he was hit in the head with a brick and had to be rushed to the hospital.

However, authorities say the crime may not be random. According to the arrest affidavit, the second person arrested Katherine Sanders worked at the victim's house last year as a home health care worker and stole money from him while taking care of his wife.

That has many wondering how to make sure those who work inside their homes are not criminals.

From home health workers to those who work with a cleaning service many open their doors to those who help with a number of jobs, often letting strangers into their homes.

Kathy Geil, the Senior Program Coordinator for the 50 Plus Zone adult center in Wichita Falls said many seniors hire home service employees, adding there is no way to be 100-percent sure about the intentions of a stranger coming into your home.

There are online background checks, but Geil said most of them do not check if someone has a record in other states. Which lets crimes like petty theft and even those who are sex offenders slip through the cracks.

Geil warns it is not just older people who are at risk.

"People of all ages should always be careful with all their personal information and who they invite into their homes," said Geil. "Because we don't know if they've cased the place out and later on somebody else might come in and break in once they've seen that you might have some valuables."

Geil recommends keeping valuables hidden, not talking about how much money you make or about how much your investments are worth.

She said it is important to keep your personal information hidden and secured. Like social security numbers and banking and credit card information. Even if you feel safe and comfortable with the worker you have in your home.

A lot of people use their own family members when it comes to home health, but if that is not an option, the Director of the Wichita Falls area Agency on Aging said it is safest to go through a home health agency. Those companies are required by law to perform a criminal background check.

Another tip, do not be afraid to ask for referrals. They are important and strongly encouraged especially if you can get one from  someone you trust.

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