Feed Horn Scheme
December 26, 2013
The FBI warns that criminals are using aluminum foil to steal thousands of dollars from retail stores and gas stations.
Mollie Halpern: The FBI warns that criminals are using aluminum foil to steal thousands of dollars from retail stores and gas stations. I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau, and this is FBI, This Week.
Members of African criminal enterprises are wrapping the foil around “feed horns”—the part of a satellite that captures and transmits the signal. The foil blocks the signal, interfering with credit card authorization systems.
The criminals then use stolen credit cards to buy cigarettes and high value electronics. Stores commonly accept credit card transactions without validations. Supervisory Special Agent Vicki Anderson…
Vicki Anderson: When they remove the blocker on the roof, they realize that it was a scam, and that credit card is never validated and the people have walked out the door with the merchandise and it’s not been paid for.
Halpern: The stolen merchandise is taken to New York, where it may be sold at pawn shops or exported to Africa.
Anderson: If you’re a small business owner, you need to be aware if your credit card system is down and someone is purchasing something, you need to make sure that it’s really down and it’s not something that’s blocking your system.
Halpern: The criminals have targeted victims in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The crime could become more prevalent because of the low-tech way it’s executed.
If you are a victim of this crime, report it to your local FBI field office.