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Rip-Off Alert: ID thieves target outgoing mail

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 3/21/2013 7:44 pm
LAS VEGAS (MyNews3) -- In this Rip-Off Alert is a story that comes with a warning about putting your outgoing bills in your mailbox.

Con artists stole Barbara Antrim's identity and went on a shopping spree.

"First you can't believe it. Then you feel violated because people are taking that don't belong to them,” she said. "We got a call from Macy's. And Macy's wanted to know if we had been making big purchases over the Internet. We had not."

Macy's said red flags went up when Antrim’s credit card was used to buy items online for the first time. But the thieves didn't stop there.

"I got to thinking maybe I should go to the bank and check out our accounts, and that's when I found that several purchases had been made,” she said.

Postal inspectors say Antrim was one of 30 people whose identities were stolen by an ID theft ring. Losses totaled $100,000.

"Very nice, very kind and never suspected putting her mail in the box would lead to this ordeal," said U.S. Postal Inspector J.J. De St. Jean.

Postal inspectors say the con men were taking mail out of mailboxes, then stealing credit card information and check routing numbers.

Inspectors eventually turned their sights to Robert Daniels.

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

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 on two counts of forgery 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 remember -- don't leave your mail in your box; pick it up daily and do not leave it in the box overnight.
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