It never surprises me anymore to hear the silly things that people do to get out of debt. It easily ranges from outright theft, embezzlement, credit fraud, identity theft, etc.
But it does always surprises me to hear people say they are so paranoid about identity theft that they refuse to use a credit card on the Internet, yet they hand it to an unknown waiter. Where does the waiter go with your credit card?
I think that ranks right up there with my friend who said to me that he would not drink the water when we were in a foreign country but he had no problem asking for extra ice for his drink.
There is also the group that insists on recycling junk mail, including credit card applications, which then sit by the curb for anyone to take.
If you exercise common sense to not leave your personal information lying about, then that is good identity theft protection. However, even the person that exercises extreme care will not know if they have been a victim of identity theft unless they take a good look at their consolidated credit report at least once a year. Here is the link to the one I think is the best.
So among the list of people, like the waiter, that you need to be concerned about having access to your credit card, is your postal worker. They could easily pluck out the credit applications or blank cash advance checks that arrive in your mailbox.
But here is a story from the UK that could easily happen anywhere.
A Birmingham UK postman who stole hundreds of items of mail to get out of debt has been jailed.
Wayne Phillips, of Tavistock Road, Acocks Green, was handed a six-month sentence after being caught in a surveillance operation.
The 42-year-old, who worked for Royal Mail for three years, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft after 240 items were recovered.
Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how Royal Mail bosses at Camp Hill District Office became suspicious after receiving reports of missing mail in May.
They planted a package containing a mobile phone with normal mail on May 21.
Mr Dove, prosecuting on behalf of Royal Mail, said although Phillips did not intercept the package, he acted “suspiciously” when dealing with other mail.
He was approached by investigators and a search of a postal van found other items Phillips said he intended to sell at car boot sales.
A search of his home uncovered burnt items with three bin liners which included 10 items of recorded delivery mail dated May 14-19.
Phillips said he had made £600-700 from car boot sales.
Mr Peters, defending, said Phillips, who struggled financially after being made redundant from a previous job, learned a stark lesson.
He said: “He really has struggled to keep his head above water and keep the family together. He has tried to do what he can to support his family.”
Upon sentencing, Magistrate Mr Jenkins said: “I do not have to tell you how serious this. You embarked on a quite deliberate, lengthy, planned and premeditated action in order to solve your financial problems.
“You broke that trust placed in you by your employers and every member of the public who relies on the honesty of a postman in your position.”