KANSAS CITY — Thieves are using aluminum foil to block satellite dish transmissions in a scheme that allows them to run up huge bills on fake or stolen credit cards without being detected, Kansas City police said.
The scheme has been discovered at three businesses in Kansas City since the weekend, police announced Monday. The ruse has been reported in other parts of the country but this the first time it’s been reported here, said Sgt. Rob Rickett of the Kansas City police fraud section.
The process works at businesses that use satellite dishes to transmit credit card information to card companies, banks or processing centers. Police say the thieves stop those transmissions by covering satellite dishes with aluminum foil, which allows them to use counterfeit, maxed-out or stolen credit card without being detected, The Kansas City Star reported.
Rickett said businesses may not realize for hours that they’ve been victimized because the satellite transmitters are on the roofs of their companies.
It is not clear how much the Kansas City businesses lost altogether in the scheme, but in one case the thief used a fraudulent credit card to buy $1,665 worth of cigarettes, police said.
Kansas City police detained three suspects Saturday after they returned to one of the businesses and tried to use a bad card a second time. No charges have been filed.
Police warned business owners to check their satellite dishes and suggested that businesses that increase the frequency with which they transmit credit card information to detect problems sooner.