ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The Hesterbergs dropped their check off to pay a bill in the USPS box outside the Clayton Post Office, just like usual. But this time, their check never made it to the company to pay their bill.

After receiving a letter from the company saying they never received their payment, they went back and double-checked their check stub, which showed they wrote it.

“We received notification that one of our checks did not make it there, so we put a stop on the check,” Carolyn Hesterberg said.

But it was too late. Hesterberg said they contacted the bank and got a copy of the electronically deposited check, which has been electronically altered.

“They altered it from 50 something dollars to $2,000, and they electronically cashed it, and they got the money,” she said.

Whoever did this, got the money and the Hesterbergs had $2,000 taken out of their account. Someone allegedly took the check out of the blue mail drop box and changed not only the money amount but the date and the memo too. 

The Hesterbergs filed a police report with Clayton Police Department, which said it has taken several reports involving stolen and altered checks recently.

Carolyn said she told a friend what happened, and learned she wasn’t alone. A friend informed her this just happened to her, and a $16 check tried to get cashed for $16,000. Luckily, they caught it before the money was taken.

A spokesperson for USPS said they can’t comment on any ongoing investigation but urged anyone impacted to file a report. “Any complaints of alleged mail theft should be reported to Postal Inspectors and the Clayton Police Department.  The number for the Postal Inspectors is 877-876-2455, Option 3.

If any residents feel a collection box in their community has been compromised, we ask they report that as well.  Additionally, out of an abundance of caution, they should deposit their outgoing mail inside their local post office,” the USPS spokesperson said in a statement.