Thieves using kitchen staple to rip off businesses

Posted September 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Northeast News
September 23, 2013

Thieves are finding a new way to scam Kansas City businesses, and police want retailers to beware.

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Above is an example of the aluminum foil scam. Photo courtesy of KCPD

Since Saturday, Sept. 21, the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) has received three reports – and a possible fourth is being investigated – of suspects covering satellite dishes with aluminum foil that stores use to process credit card information. Doing so interferes with transmitting the credit card transactions from the satellite to the credit card companies. In essence, this allows thieves with counterfeit, maxed-out or stolen credit cards to have a completely open line of credit to purchase as much as they want. No verification that typically takes place in a credit card transaction is present.

Suspects climbed onto the roofs of businesses across the city this past weekend, which included the 6200 block of St. John Ave., 8700 block of NW 112th St. and the 2100 block of E. 39th St. In the St. John Avenue theft, the suspect used a fraudulent credit card to purchase $1,665 worth of cigarettes. KCPD discovered that foil covered the satellites on the roofs of each of those businesses.

KCPD wants retailers who transmit credit card information or lottery transactions by satellite to be aware of this scam. Owners and managers should be on the look-out for anyone climbing on their building’s roof. If business owners or managers find their satellite covered with foil, they should contact police immediately. Do not remove the foil until after officers arrive and have processed the crime scene. KCPD’s Fraud Section is currently researching how widespread this scam is in other parts of the country.