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Father and son team charged in gas skimmer bust in Iberville Parish

7 months 1 week 5 days ago Friday, February 10 2017 Feb 10, 2017 February 10, 2017 6:46 PM February 10, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ

PLAQUEMINE – Two Florida residents were charged with monetary instrument abuse after deputies busted the largest gas skimmer operation in Louisiana history. 

Thursday, Iberville Parish Sheriff's deputies made a traffic stop on a father, Serafin Fuentes, and son, Juan Fuentes, both from Miami. During the investigation, deputies discovered five internal gas skimmers and equipment to create fake credit cards.

"This is a large scale operation. Its going to be multi-parish, multi-state," Sheriff Brett Stassi said.

The gas pump skimmers are secretly attached to card-readers on gas pumps that allow criminals to steal bank card numbers and PINs. Unsuspecting customers swipe their credit cards to fuel up and their card information gets recorded and later stolen and duplicated by the criminals. The skimmers can hold 800-1000 card numbers which can cause an estimated $2 million in fraud.

The Secret Service working with local authorities conducted three separate operations to remove more gas skimmers from area pumps. Officials confirmed that the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office removed a skimmer from a pump at the corner of Perkins Road and Bluebonnet Boulevard. Other skimmers were pulled from Bunkie, Ville Platte and the Lafayette areas.

Since 2015, the Secret Service has discovered 33 skimmers throughout the state. 

Officials say you should always use your card as a credit card when paying at the pump. Credit card purchase limits can also limit the amount of damage a criminal can cause with a stolen number. You should also check your bank account at least once a week to be aware of possible fraudulent purchases. 

"We are going to throw everything we have at them," Stassi said.

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