FBI Warns Retailers of New Credit Card Fraud


(Delaware County, OH)  Dec. 13, 2013—Most people are in the giving spirit this time of year, but criminals are more like scrooge. The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office is warning retailers and the public of a new credit card crime where retail stores’ satellites are being tampered with, causing interference with credit card authorization systems. This new form of fraud, known as “feed horn” may become more prevalent due to the low-tech execution of the technique.


            The FBI explains the process:

  • Criminals gain access to the retail store’s roof, where these satellites are typically located, and they wrap the satellites “feed horn” with aluminum foil to block communication between the store and financial institutions. This prevents validation of credit card transactions. Most retailers will often accept the credit or debit card transaction without validation from banks.
  • The criminals use previously stolen credit/debit card information to purchase prepaid access cards, mostly Visa Gold Green Dot Cards.
  • Using these prepaid access Visa cards, the criminals then make purchases at the stores where the satellites have been blocked, because verification cannot be made.  


            Retailers are urged to increase security, physically inspect their satellite system, and inspect any prepaid access cards they receive and require identification from the purchaser.

            “No known fraud has been reported to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office,” says Sheriff Russell Martin, “but with an increase in holiday gift purchases, we want to make sure retailers are aware of this potential fraud.”

            If retailers become victim to this crime, they should contact their local FBI, by going to http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm.