MILFORD, Mass. - Police departments across the state are investigating cases of the so-called "mail fishing" scam.
Thieves are using devices to slip mail out of post office mailboxes and then tamper and cash the checks they find inside.
MaryAnn, of Mansfield, became a victim of mail fishing.
"It's one of those things that everybody does every day," said MaryAnn.
MaryAnn says she and her husband dropped off their checks in a mail collection box in Foxborough after hours.
"I'll never use one of the mailboxes again that's outside," said MaryAnn.
But, before a worker had the chance to pick up their checks, they were stolen - but there was no way to know immediately.
"I had absolutely no idea, I had never heard of it," said MaryAnn. "They had wiped out the payee and the amount and left Paul's signature."
Thieves use sticky devices to fish out mail from USPS drop-off boxes after hours and then use chemicals to erase and change the names and numbers on checks before cashing them.
The couple's checks, one a company check and another personal, were stolen, changed and cashed. Nearly $10,000, according to MaryAnn, was stolen.
The couple was later alerted of the fraudulent activity by the bank and had their money replaced, but say the hassle and feeling they're left with is unsettling.
"It is personal, you feel very violated," said MaryAnn.
Last weekend, an off-duty Boston Police officer caught and detained four men accused of stealing mail from a mailbox in West Roxbury.
In Foxborough, the mail drop-off boxes have since been moved closer to the building, forcing people to get out of their cars to access them.
USPS says they're working to replace all old mail drop-off boxes for newer, more secure ones.
"If people used that much of their intelligence and effort they could get a good job," said MaryAnn.
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