Contact 6: Scammer shares her road to redemption

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- For more than 40 years, FOX6's Contact 6 has been providing stories of those who have been ripped off. Now, Contact 6 is speaking with a criminal, who is sharing her road to redemption.

"I had a problem with drugs and as my addiction grew as my money and necessity grew, I heard about people stealing mail and making counterfeit checks," Mary said.

Mary says with stolen account information, she would print up fake checks and ID cards to match. Getting the information is easy.

"Through stealing mail, through bank dumpsters, through garbage, behind car loan places," Mary said.

In all, 250 victims were scammed out of almost $50,000. Mary and her husband were arrested. She spent more than two years in jail, and says she now wants to make amends.

"I want to tell you - that is the reason I wanted to do this - is because it was so easy," Mary said.

As for her victims...

"They were upset by the monetary loss but moreover, about their good name being trashed. It takes a significant amount of time and energy to get your name cleared," U.S. Postal Inspector David Birch said.

If you have a mailbox, Mary has some advice.

"If you`re going to be out of town, don`t let your mail pile up," Mary said.

Also, ask questions.

"Any business that is going to take your personal information ask them what are you going to dispose my information?" Mary said.

Mary says her drug addiction made her do desperate things and she apologizes to the victims of her crimes.

"Remorse is defined as a deep, moral, anguish and regret and that is an understatement of how I feel," Mary said.

The U.S. Postal Service says everyone should follow Mary's advice and take every precaution possible to keep their personal financial information secure and out of the hands of con artists.