This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Identity theft is at record levels across the nation. For one Madison woman, a trip to the mailbox resulted in her discovering her identity was stolen.

For Michelle Romero it was a typical day. She went to check her mail when she decided to open junk mail she typically would throw away. It was a small letter from Discover Bank accompanied with a larger packet.

“It was a welcoming packet basically,” explained Romero. “It stated, thank you for opening up your cd account, your checking account.”

Shocked by the personal letter she continued to look through the letter to discover more disturbing information, a list of her private information confirming her account.

Michelle Romero realized then she was a victim of identity theft.

“It had my name, address, my job, my social security number,” said Romero. “‘To know people are out there doing that type of thing. You just don`t think about that, and you don`t think you`ll be a victim.’

Upon further investigation she found more alarming information. The account had been opened online with her information and while no money was taken from her, the account had a history linked to untraceable credit cards. “Two transactions in the amount of $3,000 each. The money was stolen,” said Romero.

She contacted the Better Business Bureau, filed a report with Madison Police Department and Discover Bank.

But the surprises kept coming in the mail. Days later, checks arrived in the mail. Romero is a cautionary tale. She watches her accounts, doesn’t shop online, and yet this still happened to her.

According to the Better Business Bureau Romero followed all the right protocol;

  1. File a report to law enforcement and a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
  2. Report the theft to the Internet Crime Center
  3. Freeze Accounts
  4. Monitor your credit

“In this particular time I chose to open that envelope,” said a grateful Romero. “And I’m so thankful that I did.’

Romero says the investigation into her case is expected to take about 6 months. She is working the case closely with Madison Police and she does intend to press charges.