ID theft ring steals bills from outgoing mail

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This story comes with a warning about putting your bills in your mailbox.  If you're not careful, you could be a target for identity thieves. 

That's exactly what happened to Barbara Antrim.

"First you can't believe it. Then you feel violated because people are taking that don't belong to them," she said.

Antrim is angry.  Con artists stole her identity and wen on a shopping spree.

"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," she said.

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," said Antrim.

Postal Inspectors says Antrim was one of 30 people whose identities were stolen by an ID theft ring.  Total losses came to $100,000.

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

Postal Inspectors says 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," said De St Jean.

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," said De St Jean.

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 not to leave your mail in your box.  Pick it up daily and do not leave it in the box overnight.

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