By: Gerri L. Elder
Through rain, sleet and blinding snow, Americans can always depend on the United States Post Office for reliable mail delivery. Or can we?
Recently many people have come upon financial hard times. Every day there are new reports of mass layoffs across the country and more bad news about the foreclosure crisis, consumer debt and rising food and gas prices. Some say the United States is headed for a recession, while others argue that we're already there. Certainly everyone agrees that times are getting tougher and the nation's economy is certainly not booming at the moment. Many people are edging closer to filing bankruptcy day by day.
In response to financial pressures, one postal worker in Oveido, Florida allegedly committed a serious breach of trust and ventured into criminal territory. She is accused of identity theft after reportedly stealing the identity of a person on her mail delivery route in order to make ends meet.
WESH 2 News in Orlando reported that 42-year-old Marsha Dailey has told prosecutors that a mail customer's credit card fell out of an open letter and she took the opportunity to write down the credit card number, security code and expiration date.
She is accused of using the information to pay her own bills and reportedly paid her cell phone and water bills using the stolen credit card information.
The victim noticed the odd charges on the credit card statement and disputed the charges with the credit card company. The credit card company then notified the police. The investigation led them to Dailey who apparently does not deny using the credit card information and told WESH that she did so because she and her husband were having trouble keeping up with their bills. She has been suspended without pay while the criminal investigation is completed.
This story brings to light that in such troubled times, people that you might not expect can commit identity theft crimes. Plenty of confidential information passes through the hands of mail carriers and postal workers. At any time, the temptation could become too much for someone in a financial pressure cooker and any U.S.P.S. customer could become a victim of identity theft.
In order to protect credit scores, consumers are always urged to pay close attention to their credit card statements and dispute any unauthorized charges immediately.
If identity theft is suspected, it is a good idea to place a fraud alert on all three credit files to prevent further activity.
In the event that sensitive documents arrive through the mail and look as though they have been opened, it's best to cancel the account and act on instinct to protect from identity theft.