FORT MYERS Fla. - Crooks are using a new scheme to steal and it uses an item you probably have in your pantry. The FBI is now issuing a warning businesses owners need to hear. Wink News explains how thieves can swipe thousands of dollars with just a piece of aluminum foil.
According to the FBI, the scam is new and may become more common because it's very low tech. Wink News spoke to a local fraud expert who says business owners, especially gas stations, should be on the lookout.
"This scam is very inexpensive and very low tech, considering such a high tech world," said local privacy and identity theft expert, Carrie Kerskie.
The scheme uses aluminum foil to interrupt a company's credit card processing machine. The crooks simply gain access to a business owner's roof and wrap the satellite feed horn with aluminum foil which blocks the signal. Those signals help prevent fraud by alerting clerks to questionable credit cards.
"The machine says its not receiving the signal, it's not working right now. The store doesn't want to lose that sale so they'll go ahead and process the transaction," Kerskie said.
The FBI says the thieves will then use a stolen credit card to purchase thousands of dollars worth in gift cards.
"So now the store owner is left on the hook for all the gift cards that were purchased," she said.
The FBI has already seen this crime happening in five states but experts say they expect the scheme to happen in Florida soon.
"It seems to be taking a Southern route down towards us. Unfortunately Florida is number one for almost every kind of fraud in the country," she said.