Saturday, December 28, 2013

The FBI Warns Retailers About Thieves Armed With Foil

File under: Thieves can be very clever.

Bloomberg reports:

Retailers, the FBI has a message for you: Watch out for fraudsters armed with aluminum foil climbing on your roofs.
The agency says thieves have used a convoluted scheme to steal electronics and cigarettes from gas stations and other stores in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvannia, and West Virginia.
Here’s how the theft goes down. First, someone climbs onto the roof of a store and uses aluminum foil to block the satellite antenna that the store uses to receive data from credit card companies to authorize sales—a gadget called a feed horn that looks like this.
That opens the door, so to speak, for bandits to enter the store, load up their carts with electronics or cigarettes, and pay with stolen credit cards. Retailers often permit sales even if the link with the credit card company is down, figuring the transactions will go through once the connection is back up.
The thieves and their ill-gotten goods are long gone by the time a store realizes its satellite receiver has been wrapped up like a plate of leftover meatloaf. When the sales are finally sent to the processor, they’re denied because the card was stolen, leaving the store on the hook for the losses.
When contacted on Friday, FBI spokeswoman Whitney Malkin said no one was available to answer questions about the scheme.


  1. Hopefully the stores were smart enough to have loss prevention cameras throughout the store to help identify the perps.

  2. Perhaps tinfoil really is helping those of us that are making hats out of it.

    [Wife says it's causing the garage door to go up every time I have an impure thought. Come to think of it, don't recall it ever being closed...]