BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Three people were arrested Friday for allegedly skimming credit card numbers at a local gas station.
During the week of Feb. 8, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office’s Financial Crimes Unit and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement found a credit card skimmer at the gas station during a proactive sweep throughout Bay County. Then, the unit learned that someone was tampering with the same gas pump.
During a search of the suspect’s car, investigators found numerous credit card skimmers — electronic equipment used to remotely retrieve stolen credit card data and cards with re-encoded credit card data.
Investigators arrested Tomas Bello, 48, and Nolsen Sendra-Gonzalez, 36, of Orlando, Florida, and Sergio Perez-Cairo, 33, of Miami.
With the assistance of the Lynn Haven Police Department, the suspects were detained and transported to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford urges everyone to use credit cards as opposed to debit cards when paying for gas at the pump. By using a credit card, the user has fraud protection from the card company. When a debit card is skimmed, the suspect could learn pin numbers which give the suspect full access to the account.
The public is also urged to examine the pump before paying. Specifically, make sure the tamper-evident security tape is intact. If the tape is not intact, immediately notify the gas station attendant, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, or the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Finally, always check card statements and have fraud protections in place. If you determine there has been fraudulent activity on your account notify law enforcement and the credit card company.
Bello was charged with possession of a credit card skimming device, possession of burglary tools, unauthorized access to an electronic device, and criminal use of personal identification information.
Cairo was charged with possession of a credit card skimming device and unauthorized access to an electronic device.
Sendra-Gonzalez was charged with four counts of possession of a credit card skimming device, trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, and tampering with evidence.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected.