ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - It's no high-tech hack, but it's causing a lot of trouble for a Snell Isle resident. A woman was caught on a home surveillance camera stealing mail, and later, stole the homeowner's identity, according to St. Petersburg police.
The victim, a 76-year-old woman, noticed the key was missing to the mailbox next to her front door in mid-December. She said she usually left the key in the box to make it easier for the mailman to drop off big items, like magazines.
It wasn't until this month that she realized something was wrong.
"Initially, the victim noticed that she received some kind of mail statement from Walmart on a card she knew she hadn't applied for," said Yolanda Fernandez, spokesperson for the St. Petersburg Police Department.
The odd bills lead the victim to thoroughly check her bank account and credit. She discovered someone opened seven new credit cards in her name. She's now working to reclaim her identity.
"It's time-consuming, it's a problem and it's certainly a hassle that most people don't want to deal with," said Fernandez.
Police hope someone will recognize the woman caught on the surveillance video.
They believe she went back to the home frequently in December to get the credit card bills before the victim could find them.
Police are also warning other residents to be vigilant when it comes to protecting their identity through their mailboxes.
"Try to pick up your mail shortly after it's delivered. Try not to leave bills in your mail to be picked up. Send them at the post office or pay your bills electronically if you can. It minimizes a lot of that traffic," said Fernandez.
Even if your credit cards and other bills are on automatic draft, police recommend checking your bank account monthly for strange activity.
Anyone who recognizes the woman seen in the surveillance video is asked to call St. Pete police or text "SPPD" and your tip to: TIP411.