Man, woman arrested in potentially 'major' credit card skimming bust

(Source: Yemassee PD)
(Source: Yemassee PD)
The suspects are tied to skimmers placed in pumps at this station in Hardeeville (Source: WTOC)
The suspects are tied to skimmers placed in pumps at this station in Hardeeville (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

YEMASSEE, SC (WTOC) - A man and woman are in custody—charged in what could be a major credit card skimming ring affecting the entire East Coast.

The chief said the pair drove by him on the interstate, and something told him to pull them over. He clocked them speeding, pulled them over, and got consent to search the car when their stories didn't add up.

The department described the chance traffic stop as one in a million given the thousands of cars on Interstate 95.

Alberto Yordan and Katty Rios are both in the Hampton County jail. Officers found cash, fake credit cards, money orders and skimmers in their car.

"I mean at this point, there's no telling how many other skimmers are still out there or if they did travel 95 or if they followed the evacuation routes that local authorities had set up. Really, at this point there's no telling," said Yemassee police public information officer Matthew Garnes.

Police said the pair put the skimmers inside the pumps at an Exxon station in Hardeeville. They likely just drove back by the gas station and stole all the credit card information using a Bluetooth phone. This bust is a reason officers say no stop is truly 'routine'.

"You have your routine, every-day traffic stops that could turn into taking down potentially a huge credit card skimming ring which spans potentially the entire East Coast," said Garnes.

Yordan is from Florida. Rios is from New York. They could've hit gas stations at all points in between.

"It's very upsetting, very alarming in today's society because people are traveling and they have minimal amount of dollars to travel," said Pennsylvania native David Jacobs.

"Yeah, it's worrisome for a lot of people. I think this day in age, a lot of people trust that their banks are going to do the right thing and reimburse them if fraud does happen," Devin Wimpling, travelling through Georgia on her way to Florida.

Police are asking anyone who may have gotten gas along this stretch of the interstate to check their bank statements and call police if they notice something is off.

"We encourage them to contact their local law enforcement and they in turn can get in contact with us. Hopefully we'll try to find all the parties affected by this and get everything rectified," said Garnes.

Yemassee officers did confirm the connection to the skimming case in Hardeeville. When we reached out to Hardeeville's chief, he said he's not quite ready to issue a statement given the early stages of this investigation. The secret service is assisting local law enforcement.

We are learning this is the fourth time this year skimming devices have been found at the same Exxon location off of I-95. The pumps have since returned to service after being inspected. Surrounding gas stations are now being checked for skimming devices as well.

Police said a good way to protect yourself is to use cash and go inside to pay for gas. You can also check the credit card reader at the pump. Some gas stations put tape around the reader to show it has not been compromised. You should also try to pick the pump closest to the store, because criminals are less likely to tamper with it.

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