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New form of identity theft hitting Southwest Florida mailboxes

Reporter: Rich Kolko
Published: Updated:

It looks like a safe Punta Gorda neighborhood, but you know what they say about looks.

Police say scammers fanned out in the Burnt Store Isles neighborhood, filling out fake change of address cards in hopes to steal their mail.

More than a dozen people say they got a change of address notification they never filled out.

Punta Gorda Police Department Lt. Dylan Renz said, “If its a husband and wife living together, they might pick the husband and change his address, but not change the wife’s address. So she’s continue to get mail on a regular basis so it’s not so noticeable. And they’ll divert his mail so they can request credit cards in his name and pull other kinds of financial scams.”

People in the neighborhood credit social media for getting the word out to make everyone aware and helping them stay informed on the investigation.

“That actually did happen to the lady that lived right next door to her,” said Neighbor Becky Warner.” She had not been getting her mail for a while and didn’t know why.”

Postal officials confirmed the scam when they got multiple change of address forms from the same area at the same time.

Wendy Mueller of Punta Gorda is a postal customer, just like all of us. She said, “I’m surprised they didn’t start this here a while back. Being a very seasonal community, it would seem like a lucrative thing for some people to do. ”

Renz added, “We have not seen it before here, we do know this a fairly regular thing that happens. We know there is a lot of cases on the East Coast of Florida where this happens. This is probably starting to trickle over to our area.”