Watch What You Put in Your Mailbox - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Watch What You Put in Your Mailbox

Updated:

How many times do you put outgoing bills in your mailbox? It could be a dangerous move, especially with identity thieves always looking for ways to find personal information.

It happened to Barbara Antrim. By looking through her mail, con artists stole her identity and went on a shopping spree.

"We got a call from Macy's. And Macy's wanted to know whether we had been making big purchases over the Internet," Antrim said.

But the thieves didn't stop there.

"Maybe I should go to the bank and check out our account and we did and that's when I found out that several purchases had been made."

Postal inspectors say Barbara was one of 30 people whose identities were stolen by an ID theft ring.

The total losses: $100,000.

Inspectors say the con artists were taking mail out of mailboxes, then stealing credit card information and check routing numbers.
 
Inspectors eventually turned their sights to the ringleader, Robert Daniels.

"He was the head of the scheme but it was very difficult for many years to catch him," said J.J. De St. Jean, U.S. Postal Inspector.

A search of Daniels' home helped inspectors discover his role in the crime ring.

"Mr. Daniels would accompany several young women along to cash checks at various check cashing places and stores to buy goods," De St. Jean said.

Daniels was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.

Postal inspectors say a very small percentage of ID theft cases actually come from items stolen from a mailbox.  However, it's important to avoid leaving outgoing mail in the mailbox overnight.

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