It’s expensive living in paradise. It’s really expensive aging in paradise. Many seniors have had to resort to relying on the “cash economy” to help them out. “Cash economy” is the term used to refer to hiring or purchasing things“ under the table” or with cash so that there is no paper trail and therefore no taxes have to be paid. These workers usually are unlicensed, carry no insurance in case they get injured on your property or damage something when doing their job, and have no office you can go to if there is a problem with non-performance or faulty construction.

It is a very common practice in Hawai‘i to hire people in this manner for yard work, car repairs or construction projects. And it is very common for the police or me to receive calls from victims of scams who tried to save money in this manner only to receive little or nothing in return. In fact, our office is prosecuting one person who defrauded over 24 people by simply representing himself as a licensed landscaper and taking their money and disappearing. When arrested, it was revealed that he not only didn’t have a license, but also had a criminal record for doing this crime before. If you have questions about elder abuse, call or email: 808-768-7536 |

To check if the person you are hiring has a license or complaints from previous clients, use the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) website, which is an easy and free tool to use.

 On your computer, type in the website:

 Click on the blue box that says “Check A Business or License”.

 On the left-hand side of the new page, choose the type of search you want: business complaint history, business name, professional and vocational license, or licensee complaint history.

 Follow the directions on the next new page.

 If you have any questions you can call DCCA during business hours at 808-587-4272.

Another good site is the Better Business Bureau. It displays information and reviews/complaints about local businesses, and scorecards.

 On your computer or device, type in the website:

 Type the business name and location in the search bar and click on it in the list that appears.

If you don’t have access to the internet there are public services at the library. ——-

If you have questions about elder abuse, call or email: 808-768-7536 |