DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Sondra Puorro’s mailbox last weekend held junk mail, bills and a new credit card. The problem was, she never asked for it.
“It was a card in my name from, I believe, First National Bank or something of the sort. Best Western card,” she says.
A few days earlier, she received a call from a bank about a credit application in her name.
“They actually already had all my information except one minor piece, which was my mom’s maiden name.”
The fraudulent card arrived anyway – for her and at least 20 of her neighbors — on Amherst Avenue in Dallas and University Park.
“I think of last count today, we’ve counted 14 or 15 houses, and a lot of those are couples, so it’s been numerous people,” Puorro says.
Nearly all the neighbors on her street share the same story. Identity theft expert Lane Conner thinks the most likely culprit is mail theft. He says he’s shocked that it would be all in one neighborhood.
“We just had tax season, that there’s sensitive information going into people’s mailboxes that people are walking through and pulling out and finding social security numbers that way,” Lane says.
To prevent it from happening, he recommends eliminating paper bills as much as possible. And if it’s too late, put a freeze on your credit report so new accounts can’t be opened.
The neighbors believe there are probably many more victims in the area and are encouraging others to be vigilant in checking their credit reports. Police are investigating the identity thefts.