LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – It’s hard to find anyone these days that hasn’t been touched in one way or another by identity theft.
The Federal Trade Commission says more than 300,000 Americans were targeted by identity thieves in 2012 and those numbers are going up every year.
Even the simple act of putting your outgoing bills in your mailbox can make you an easy target for identity theft.
Barbara Antrim is angry. Con artists stole her identity and went 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 explained.
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.
Antrim explained, "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."
Postal inspectors say Antrim was one of 30 people whose identities were stolen by an ID theft ring. Total losses amounted to $100,000.
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," said J.J. De St. Jean, US Postal Inspector.
The photos showed a search of Daniels' home which helped inspectors discover his role in the crime ring.
De St. Jean said, "Mr. Daniels would accompany several young women along to cash checks at various check cashing places and stores to buy goods."
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.