The past two days have been quite stressful to me and my husband. We discovered that my sister in law lost her money while she was staying at our house. Knowing that we didn’t take it, we only had one suspect in mind– our new house help (HH) who has only been with us for more than a week.
I quickly took a peek at her bag to check if it was her. And lo and behold… a 1000 bill was there… neatly tucked in her wallet and it was the only thing there. I knew right then that she really stole it. How? First, she wasn’t paid by her previous “employer”; second, two days in, we gave her a 200php cash advance because she asked for some time off to attend a birthday party and she didn’t have any cash. So how in the world did she have that money?
Anyway, not wanting to confront the HH and risk her leaving us (we desperately need one) I just took the money and replaced it with 100php (the same thing she did to my SIL). The day went on as usual. However, when evening came, the HH started to act unusual. She hasn’t changed to her house clothes after our quick trip to the doctor in the afternoon. She went inside our room while I was eating dinner when I didn’t tell or ask her to. And she kept on giving my husband and me reasons just so she could go out. My husband decided to follow her after she asked for permission to buy a pain killer and he saw that she was already bringing a bag with her. She immediately tossed the bag on the road when she saw my husband. And just when we’re about to sleep that evening, I decided to check my bag and discovered that my 1000php bill was missing! And based on the CCTV/home surveillance app on my husband’s phone, she was trying to sneak out of the house. That was the time we decided to talk to her. To cut the story short, she admitted stealing the money, returned it to me and we turned her over to the police.
This incident has seriously taught me a lot. And I’ve realized I shouldn’t easily trust people or lower my standards just because I need help because my family’s safety is at stake.
So here are some things I’ve decided to keep in mind when hiring/screening for house help in the future:
- Only accept referrals from people you trust and make sure that they personally know the family of the one they’re referring.
- Ask for proof of identification. Have applicants or referred persons for proof of identification such as IDs, barangay/police/NBI clearance and birth certificate. This is to make sure that they are who they say they are. This will make it easier for them to apply for PhilHealth, SSS and other government mandated benefits too.
- Set clear rules & regulations with regards to your HH’s duties and permissions inside the household. When is she permitted to get inside your room? What are the things she’s allowed to do when inside, etc?
- Be mindful of your belongings especially cash. It pays to be hands on and to know exactly how many 100 or 20 peso bills you have or how many 10/5/1 peso coins you have on your wallet. This way, you’ll know exactly if something is missing or stolen. My mom is like this.. Not sure why I didn’t get her talent, heh. Also, don’t place your cash anywhere so no one gets tempted to steal no matter how big or small the amount is.
- Have a CCTV or surveillance camera. This doesn’t need to be high end or costly. With the advent of technology, there are plenty of free apps out there that turn your phones or tablets to CCTVs. Place them on strategic locations inside the house.
How about you? Have you ever experienced something similar? What did you do? Let me know by commenting below!