Three men arrested for gas pump skimming
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Three men were arrested following an investigation into a credit card skimming operation in Marion County, Fla., according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement.
OALE investigators took Frank Benitez-Lopez, Armando Yeikel Carbonell-Rabi, and Royniel Fabelo-Cedeno into custody Feb. 17 on an active arrest warrant.
Lopez was charged on one count of unauthorized access to an electronic device and one count of criminal mischief while Carbonell-Rab was charged on one count of unauthorized access to an electronic device and one count of criminal mischief, according to the OALE.
Fabelo-Cedeno was charged on three counts of unauthorized access to an electronic device, four counts of the use of a scanning device, 12 counts of the possession of a skimming device and four counts of unlawful use of a two-way communications device, officials said.
In August 2020, OALE investigators were made aware of the possible tampering of a fuel pump installed at a gas station in Marion County.
Several men were observed accessing the fuel pump in a suspicious manner. Investigators responded to the gas station and made contact with them.
On Feb. 15, acting on information obtained during the investigation, OALE had an arrest warrant signed for these men. They were taken into custody on the active arrest warrant on Feb. 17.
FDAC offered the following tips for avoiding gas pump fraud:
- Take a close look at the pump: Avoid using pumps that are open or unlocked, have had the tamper-evident security tape cut or removed, or otherwise appear unusual. If unsure, use another pump or pay inside with cash or a credit card.
- Use a credit card, not a debit card: If a credit card number is skimmed, you’re protected by the card issuer’s zero-liability policy – but a stolen debit card number could be far more damaging. If you must use a debit card, choose to use it as credit, instead of selecting debit and entering your PIN.
- Pay inside, not at the pump: It takes just seconds for criminals to place a skimmer in a gas pump — but it’s far less likely that a skimmer has been placed on the payment terminal in front of the clerk inside the gas station or convenience store. Take the few extra minutes to pay inside with cash or a credit card to protect yourself from fraud.
- Choose gas pumps closest to the physical building: Don’t use gas pumps out of the attendant’s line of sight such as those around a corner or behind a building. Thieves placing skimmers are less likely to put them in pumps where the store attendant may catch them in the act.
- Check card statements and sign up for fraud alerts: Nearly every credit card issuer offers fraud alerts, and many will email or text you when your card is used at a gas station. Check your credit card and debit card transactions frequently to make sure no fraudulent activity has occurred.
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