Home surveillance catches ID theft suspects

By Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Mar 31 2014 04:25:07 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 01 2014 10:10:00 PM EDT
MIAMI, Fla. -

Home video from  Miami resident Simone Khalin captures a man driving up to her mailbox and removing an envelope inside.

"We felt like we needed to do something. We did tape them putting their hand in our mailbox," she said.

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," said Khalin.

That's when the Khalin family  decided to videotape their mailbox.

"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," explained US Postal Inspector Reldys Torres.

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. That information would then have your name, account number, bank, address," explained Torres. "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," said Torres.

Consumers often don't know their identity has been stolen until their next bank statement arrives a month later.

"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," Torres added.

In this particular scheme, inspectors say 50 victims lost $150,000 dollars. Postal inspectors say the three suspects in this mail fraud and ID theft ring were well known to law enforcement.  The mastermind was sentenced to 7 years in prison.  The other two were sentenced between two and three years behind bars.

Inspectors say if you see something, report it.

"If they do see someone in their mailbox that is not a mailman contact us immediately, contact the police immediately," said Torres.

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