TALLAHASSEE – Last week, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement (OALE) made an arrest following an investigation into a credit card skimming operation in Hernando County. On June 17, 2021, OALE investigators took Yadian Quesada-Hernandez into custody; Quesada-Hernandez was booked into the Hernando County Jail and bond was set at $40,000.
“Florida has the highest fraud rate per capita in the entire nation, with $84 million lost to fraud in 2018,” said Commissioner Fried. “Our Department’s law enforcement professionals are working hard to thwart these criminals every day, our inspectors are checking thousands of gas pumps for these devices, and I will keep working with the Legislature to attack this problem head-on. I appreciate the selfless, hard-working law enforcement officers that diligently serve our communities.”
Timeline and background information:
March 10: A suspect was caught on video placing a credit card skimming device inside a fuel pump at 7003 N Florida Avenue, Hernando, Florida in an apparent attempt to steal credit card information from Florida consumers. After extensive investigation, investigators with OALE and members of the United States Secret Service Electronic Crime Task Force identified the suspect as Yadian Quesada-Hernandez of Spring Hill, Florida. OALE investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Quesada-Hernandez for multiple related offenses in Citrus County. Quesada-Hernandez is also suspected of placing credit card skimming devices in gas pumps at other locations throughout Florida.
June 17: OALE investigators located and arrested Quesada-Hernandez at his residence without incident. Quesada-Hernandez was booked into the Hernando County Jail with a $40,000 bond.
Arrestee: Yadian Quesada-Hernandez, Hispanic male, DOB 01-11-1986, Spring Hill, Florida
- Violation of Section 655.0322(6), F.S., Scheme to Defraud a Financial Institution, Second-Degree Felony, 1 count;
- Violation of Section 815.06(3)(b)(2), F.S., Unauthorized Access to an Electronic Device, Second-Degree Felony, 1 count;
- Violation of Section 817.625(2)(c), F.S., Possession of Skimming Device, Third-Degree Felony, 3 counts;
- Violation of Section 806.13(1)(b)(3), F.S., Criminal Mischief, Third Degree Felony, 1 count.
Skimmers: Skimmers are small electronic devices illegally installed inside gas pumps – first appeared in Florida in 2015 and have grown exponentially since. FDACS’ Bureau of Standards inspects over 8,700 gas stations each year and has removed 4,860 skimmers since 2015. The Bureau also inspects pumps for safety and accuracy. Skimmers can be undetectable to consumers because of their location inside gas pumps, and have a potential for $1 million in fraudulent credit card charges per skimmer. They range from simple devices that clamp onto internal wiring that criminals must later retrieve, to sophisticated devices that deliver stolen credit card data via Bluetooth and automated text messaging. For more information visit FDACS.gov/skimmers.
Since September, FDACS has partnered with local law enforcement offices in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Volusia, Flagler, Orange, Sarasota, St. Johns, Broward, and Bay Counties to perform multiple successful gas pump skimmer sweeps of over 1,500 gas stations.
Consumer tips to avoid fraud at the pump:
- 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.
If consumers suspect a gas pump skimmer, they should contact FDACS — all consumer complaints will be investigated. To file a consumer complaint, visit FloridaConsumerHelp.com or call 1-800-HELP-FLA or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (en español).
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