WAXAHACHIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office said it wrapped up a five-month skimming investigation by executing a search warrant and arrest warrant in Dallas on Thursday, May 20.

The investigation stemmed from suspicious activity at a gas station in Ellis County.

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As a result, Ellis County criminal investigators determined someone was illegally utilizing, “skimmers” inside the gas pumps.

These electronic devices, “skimmers” allow the actors to gain access to victims’ credit/debit card information and pin numbers.

During the investigation, Ellis County Sheriff’s Deputies noted two men park their Cadillac Escalade next to a fuel pump.

Video surveillance captured one of them access the fuel pump control panel.

The video surveillance also captured a partial license plate which later identified the registered owner as Leandro Nunez-Perez of Dallas.

Leandro Nunez-Perez and two skimmers found during the search of his home (Ellis County Sheriff’s Office).

Nunez-Perez is on Deferred Probation for the offenses of Unlawful Interception, Use, Disclosure or Wire or Oral Electronic Communications and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity out of Houston.

These offenses are used in cases involving gas pump skimmers, the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Investigators traveled all over North Texas and into Oklahoma conducting surveillance and undercover operations on Nunez-Perez’s actions.

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This information led to a search warrant, arrest warrant, and the apprehension of Mr. Nunez-Perez on Condor Drive in Dallas.

The search and seizure of evidence Nunez-Perez’s residence noted several electronic devices known to be used in the re-encoding of gift-cards & debit cards with victims’ stolen card information and an undisclosed amount of cash.

This card information is obtained via, “skimmers” which have been placed inside gas pump control panels.

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 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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(Originally Posted 6/3/2021)

CBSDFW.com Staff