LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- We often hear from the people who have been victimized by scam artists. But, rarely do we hear from the criminals themselves. In today's Rip-Off Alert is the story of one woman's road to redemption.
"I had a problem with drugs and as my addiction grew as my money and necessity grew,” Mary said. “I heard about people stealing mail and making counterfeit checks."
Mary says with stolen account information, she would print up fake checks and ID cards to match. Getting the information was easy.
"Through stealing mail, through bank Dumpsters, through garbage behind car loan places. Places like that may have your information and then throw it away," Mary said.
Mary says on a slow day she would cash $500 in counterfeit checks; a good day $2,000. In all, 250 victims were scammed out of almost $50,000.
"We said we would get to a certain amount of money and we would stop,” Mary said. “But it never seemed we got to that, if we got there, we needed more. It's an illusion."
Mary and her husband were arrested. She spent more than two years in jail and says she now wants to make amends.
"I want to tell you -- that is the reason I wanted to do this -- is because it was so easy," she said.
U.S. Postal Inspector David Birch said the victims “were upset by the monetary loss but moreover, about their good name being trashed. It takes a significant amount of time and energy to get your name cleared."
If you have a mailbox, Mary has some advice: “If you're going to be out of town, don't let your mail pile up."
Also, ask questions. “If you use a bank, make sure they shred your information,” Mary said. “Any business that is going to take your personal information, ask them, ‘What are you going to dispose my information?’ "
Mary says her drug addiction made her do desperate things and she apologizes to the victims of her crimes.
The U.S. Postal Service says everyone should follow Mary's advice and take every precaution possible to keep their personal financial information secure and out of the hands of con artists.