The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has teamed up with local senior services to create what they hope will be a resource to help seniors find trustworthy help for hire.
‘Northland Hired Hands’ recently launched online. Its goal is to find individuals or small companies who want to work in the Northland for hired help with home maintenance, yard work, housekeeping, carpentry, plumbing or other similar jobs.
The reason? Those in the Northland continue to see seniors being targeted by scam artists.
"People come knocking at the door saying they'll do some work and they leave with your money,” said Paula Zigmond of Clay County Senior Services. “We always get calls from people saying either, 'I was scammed,' or, 'I'm trying not to get scammed.'”
"We see a lot of victimization of elderly,” said Clay County Sheriff Public Information Officer Jon Bazzano. "People in this program will have to go through finger printing and background check. So at least you know the people showing up have gone through the process."
Anyone interested in becoming a hired hand listed on the website must complete the initial application through Clay County Senior Services or Northland Shepherd’s Center, pay a $50 registration fee, then go to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office for fingerprinting and background check.
Anyone can register, not just Northland residents.
"You're helping to prevent scams in our community,” said Zigmond. "It kinda keeps it local too, in the community and it's a trustworthy service."
Zigmond said they are still waiting for more potential hired hands to apply to join the site while there are several seniors already inquiring about possible help.
You can reach Northland Shepherd’s Center at 816-452-4536 or Clay County Senior Services at 816-455-4800.
Josh Helmuth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org