ROSEDALE, Md — "It's frightening. I feel very vulnerable," Irene Glorioso said.
Twice in one month, Glorioso said checks she mailed through the post office were stolen. 25 checks total that up until Wednesday, had not been cashed. She hoped maybe they got lost, or the criminal couldn't figure out how to manipulate them.
"I also thought, 'Well, the check is made out to Verizon for $91. No one can cash that'," said Glorioso.
But that's the very check someone deposited Wednesday into an account in Virginia.
"Now it was real. Someone had washed the check, put in their own information, their name and the amount of money they wanted to get," said Glorioso.
That amount was $4,900. But it didn't stop there. The person tried to deposit two more checks.
"But they weren't real check numbers that I actually had so apparently the people who are washing the checks are also creating checks of their own with my account information," said Glorioso.
She spent Thursday on the phone with her bank, shutting down her account; with credit card companies canceling cards; with the Postal Fraud division, reporting the case; and with a Baltimore County Police Officer, filing a report.
"It's frightening. I feel very vulnerable. I feel like I'm just a victim now. I'm out there vulnerable and I'm an easy target for someone to take advantage. They have my information and I'm frightened," said Glorioso.
She hopes that by sharing her story, she can prevent others from falling victim to these crimes.
"It's bigger than some kids or teenagers, somebody breaking into a box to get birthday card money. These are serious, savvy criminals," said Glorioso.
Her bank, First National Bank, has waived all fees associated with this fraud. Originally though, the $38 per check charge was the reason Glorioso didn't put in stop payments. Now that's exactly what she wants others to do if this happens to them.
"Talk to the bank, put stop payments on the checks. Once you know that you have stop payments on there, put in a fraud alert," said Glorioso.
USPS and Baltimore County Police are investigating, along with her bank.
To prevent mail fraud, Postal Inspector Michael Martel said don't send cash or coins, only checks and money orders. He also recommends dropping mail off in the blue outdoor boxes close to collection times. And if you think something might have been stolen, alert police and USPS immediately.