$400,000 Worth Of Stolen Starlink Kits Recovered From A Home In New Jersey

Yesterday, police in Lawrence Township, New Jersey released details of a large scale fraud operation involving Starlink satellite internet kits. According to a press release posted on the LTPD Facebook page, a suspect is now behind bars for allegedly ordering hundreds of Starlink kits using stolen credit cards.

Today’s news is a result of a three month investigation by LTPD detectives. It all started back in December of 2023, when police received a tip about a suspicious number of Starlink packages being delivered to a single-family residence. Police began surveillance of the residence, observing Starlink packages being loaded from the house to a transport vehicle. They learned that the Lawrence Township residence was a staging location, used to receive and organize the kits. They would later be transferred to another location in northern New Jersey.

During one of the transport runs, LTPD detectives initiated a traffic stop, finding 223 Starlink kits in the vehicle. LTPD’s investigation would ultimately find that a total of 675 Starlink kits, worth about $400,000, were ordered by the suspect as a part of the fraud scheme. The suspect used stolen credit card information to complete the orders, apparently evading the Starlink and bank fraud detection systems. I’ve previously covered Starlink’s efforts to reduce fraudulent orders, but it’s not clear if these purchases were made before or after their systems were updated.

Bennett Woo, SpaceX Director of Payment Risk & Fraud, is quoted saying that this was the companies “largest fraud recovery to date”. SpaceX CFO Bret Johnson commented that he was happy to see the kits recovered, and that the fraudsters were being held accountable, according to the LTPD press release. Police have only recovered about 1/3 of the stolen kits, so the investigation is ongoing.

Although investigators did not say what happened to the kits after leaving New Jersey, I speculate that they were being sold on 3rd party marketplaces, likely discounted compared to brand new kits from Starlink. Unsuspecting buyers would purchase the kits, thinking they were getting a deal. Due to recent equipment transfer policy changes, the stolen kits were likely unable to be activated by the buyers.

This scam worked two ways. Not only did the suspect allegedly commit credit card fraud, but they probably also scammed 3rd party marketplace buyers by selling kits that could not be reassigned from the original account they were ordered under.

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