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The Bottom Line: Unwanted Guests
ALBANY -- It's all in your mail: Bank accounts, credit card numbers, all of your most sensitive financial information.
So what happens when your mail becomes a prime target for others?
Here's the story of how one family took matters into their own hands to protect their Bottom Line - and why you might want to monitor your mailbox extra closely, as well.
Simone Khalin and her family began finding pieces of their mail in the road. They also started finding envelopes addressed to different names in their mailbox.
They knew something was wrong.
"We felt like these people were waiting for the mailman to drop off the mail in the mailbox and they were right away after. Gone in two seconds," she says.
That's when the Khalins decided to videotape their mailbox. And their instinct was right.
"Lucky for us we were able to get video from the victim where it showed the actual suspect reaching into not only their mailbox but the mailbox of their neighbors across the street," says Reldys Torres, U.S. Postal Inspector.
Postal inspectors were quickly able to track down the truck and the suspects, and unravel the scam.
"They would take your mail, your Bank statements, or your W2 forms, or info if you were in the hospital," says Torres. "That information would then have your name, account number, bank, address. With a couple of phone calls they would re-order credit cards, debit cards, and your PIN number and have it mailed back to the same address."
Since the mail was being delivered to the same address as the legitimate bank or credit card holder, the bank never suspected anything was wrong.
"At ATM's they would withdraw money, obviously, at stores they would buy high end computer equipment; iPads, phones for resale value," Torres adds. "By the time the victims realize what was going on it was 30 days past and the credit card was already used or maxed out - it's gone and on to the next victim."
In all, 50 victims lost $150,000.
Torres offers this advice: "If they do see someone in their mailbox that is not a mailman contact us immediately, contact the police immediately."