We talked to Kevin Connell, founder and CEO of Accu-Screen, Inc., a background screening agency, and author of Background Checks for the Job: What Every Job Applicant, Employee and Employer Needs to Know About Them Right Now, for tips on keeping yourself and your family safe.
• Ask the company if they run criminal background checks on their employees. "Many times, they'll say they're bonded and insured," he says. "But this just means you might get your money back if the employee steals something. It doesn't mean they run a criminal background check."
• If a company doesn't run background checks, don't do business with them. Otherwise, you could be unwittingly letting a criminal or murderer into your home. Criminals often use service jobs to find their next victims. Connell says that in prison, they often teach criminals trades like plumbing or duct-cleaning that will later bring them into people's homes.
• It is always a good idea to have another adult in the house when any kind of service is being done. "Invite a friend or neighbor over for coffee, or make sure your husband is there," says Connell. "If a lot of people are coming in and out, a criminal might be deterred."
• Don't think your children are going to protect you. "Attackers often threaten to harm the children if the woman doesn't do what he wants," Connell warns. "They use kids against you."
• Do not hesitate to say "no" if you do not feel safe when the worker arrives. Tell the person an emergency has come up and you'll have to reschedule.
Have you ever felt unsafe with a service worker in your home?