STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – Strongsville police are investigating a rash of checks stolen from the mail.

Over the last two months, officers have received 16 reports in the city, including some businesses and Sts. Joseph and John School.

The amounts are almost all in the thousands of dollars.

One woman who asked to be identified by her first name only was taken for $9,300.

“It’s scary,” said Linda. “I mean, it really messes up your life.”

Linda wrote two checks in December to St. Jude’s Hospital and Shriners Hospital, each for $20, but the thieves changed the amounts to $5,000 and $4,300. 

“The date and signature were mine, but everything else was altered on the check and you could see the whiteout. They used whiteout,” said Linda. “They do it with their phone and it’s just scary how technology is making it so easy for crooks.”

The majority of the victims mailed the checks using a USPS drive through blue box.

Strongsville police say the checks were then altered and cashed.

On Wednesday, they warned residents and suggested people use, “alternative payment methods like paying electronically or walking into the post office to mail checks.”

“We recommend not mailing checks from your private mailbox or through any USPS drop boxes, including those at the Strongsville Post,” they said.

In December, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service confirmed a “recent trend in blue box thefts” in Northern Ohio.

They said checks and gift cards were being taken from the drive-thru collection boxes in several cities, including Broadview Heights, North Royalton and Middleburg Heights.

Linda is working with fraud investigators from her bank, the police department and USPS.

She’s also hoping to recoup the stolen funds, but she’s still very sad because the thieves didn’t just steal from her, but from those charities.

“Especially when you think of St. Jude and Shriners, I mean, those are for the kids and those were the checks that were actually altered,” said Linda.