Keeping your personal information away from identity thieves
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:51 PM CDT
How do identity thieves get their hands on your information?
Channel three's Lena Deflores has the answer from a former thief, who shares how she did it.
You probably go the extra step to protect your information in your wallet and online but a former con artist says where you're most vulnerable is in your front yard.
"I had a problem with drugs and as my addiction grew as my money and necessity grew. I heard about people stealing mail and making counterfeit checks."
Mary says she would print fake checks and ID cards to match.
All with stolen account information.
And she says, getting that information was easy.
"Through stealing mail, through bank dumpsters, through garbage behind car loan places. Places like that may have your information and then throw it away."
She would cash anywhere between $500 dollars to 2-thousand dollars a day in counterfeit checks.
In all, she scammed 250 victims out of nearly $50-thousand dollars.
"We said we would get to a certain amount of money and we would stop. But it never seemed we got to that, if we got there, we needed more. It's an illusion."
Mary and her husband were arrested. She spent more than two years in jail and says she now she wants to help you protect yourself.
"I want to tell you - that is the reason I wanted to do this - is because it was so easy."
"They were upset by the monetary loss but moreover, about their good name being trashed. It takes a significant amount of time and energy to get your name cleared."
Mary says you should be mindful when it comes to your mailbox.
"If you're going to be out of town, don't let your mail pile up."
Also, ask questions.
"If you use a bank, make sure they shred your information. Any business that is going to take your personal information ask them what are you going to dispose my information?"
With your consumer alert, Lena Deflores, Channel Three News.