The Bottom Line:Costly Delivery
Updated: Friday, May 9 2014, 10:44 AM EDT
NISKAYUNA -- Maureen Webster still can't believe an identity thief stole thousands of dollars from her.
The most frustrating part? Who the thief was: Her newspaper delivery guy.
"In my mind, he was a nice hard working man; never thinking, I never thought twice about tipping a newspaper delivery person with a personal check," Webster says.
She will from now on.
"He decided to make some additional checks that looked like mine and he decided to welcome himself to all of the money in my bank account," she says.
But the story didn't end with fraudulent checks.
Maureen says he also filed fraudulent tax returns for 2012, fraudulent state income tax returns for 2012, got into her Fidelity account, and tried to take out $10,000.
So how did he access all this information?
With just her name and address, he was able to find it all in cyberspace. And Maureen was not alone.
Postal inspectors say a "ring" of newspaper delivery guys stole millions of dollars, from more than 400 victims.
"Add zeros where they shouldn't be added, cash checks on their accounts and then put in change of address of the people - getting the mail delivered to his house, get bank statements and enter into their bank accounts and engage in account takeovers," says U.S. Postal Inspector Ryan Noonan.
After a few months, the suspect was arrested.
"He wasn't hard to find," Webster adds. "He was smart enough to figure out how to write checks out of peoples accounts but he wasn't smart enough to NOT write his name and address on his… he basically led them right to him."
The Bottom Line?
Make sure to check your bank statements, and make sure the check amounts match. If you wrote a check for $30, make sure there's not a bank debit of $300 or $3,000.
And if you bank online, you can check alot more frequently even than just that once-a-month statement.