Thieves forwarding mail to steal from Central Florida residents, authorities say

The Belle Isle Police Chief is warning residents to make sure they're getting their mail delivered.  Chief Laura Houston said thieves have been forwarding people's mail and stealing it.

"It’s scary to think that your assets are out there, your information is out there and someone could be impersonating you," said a frustrated Rick Miller. He said someone forwarded his mail without his permission and started applying for credit cards. 

"I received a notice from Chase -- one of my credit card companies -- that three credit cards have been requested to be replaced. And they issued new ones." He says thieves also obtained his financial information.

Chief Houston said Miller isn’t the only one who’s getting their mail stolen. "It started happening in the last two weeks," she explained. "I think up to eight residents who have reported that their mail has been forwarded." 

She said it’s happening to residents on Wind Drift and Fulmer Roads. The mail is going to an address in South Florida. Chief Houston reached out to the U.S. Postal Inspector Service for help. We asked her what the thieves are looking for when they forward mail.

"Money, identity theft, fraudulent credit cards." 

She credits the mailman for realizing something was wrong. "The hero of this is the postal delivery man. He’s been working this area for a long time. He knows these residents, and he knows that they’re not moving."

A U.S. Postal Inspection Services spokesperson said the agency is looking into it but said that when a resident moves, they are supposed to receive a letter saying their mail is about to be forwarded. 

Chief Houston added, "One thing that’s concerning is that the resident isn’t being notified that their mail is being forwarded." She wants residents to be on alert. "Every resident should pay attention to whether their mail is coming. If you don’t get mail for a couple of days go down to the post office." 

Miller said he constantly checks his accounts, and luckily he has yet to notice if any money has been taken from any of his accounts. "Not a dime. But I’ve been ahead of them. It’s literally like playing 'Whac-A-Mole!'"

The U.S. Postal Inspector said it's important to report missing mail right away. They also recommend signing up for "Informed Delivery," where you get images of your mail sent online. To report a missing mail complaint call the U.S. Postal Service at  877-876-2455.