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Three Florida men charged in Albion in 'large credit card skimming operation'

ALBION - Three Florida men are accused of acting as part of a "large credit card skimming operation" that may have stolen hundreds of individuals' credit card information in Western New York, according to the State Police.

The men were arrested Tuesday after the report of individuals trying to use fraudulent gift cards at a Walmart store in Albion, State police said.

The State Police responded to the store and apprehended Yordani Ramirez-Salgado, 27, of Miami, Fla. Police said he tried to flee and resisted arrest.

Two other men got away in a car, which was later found traveling on Route 98 by an Orleans County sheriff's deputy. The two men in the car were taken into custody, according to police. They were identified as Ernesto Alvarez-Santos, 20, and Abel Garcia-Fernandez, 31, both of Hialeah, Fla.

The State Police charged the men with second-degree forgery, second-degree possession of a forged instrument, fourth-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, fifth-degree conspiracy and resisting arrest.

Authorities said they believed the men traveled to New York for the purposes of obtaining credit card information. They said the men are believed to be part of a larger group that steals credit card information via the internet and uses  skimming devices.

Credit card skimmers are small devices attached to ATMs, gas pumps and other credit card devices that are not apparent to the consumer. The machines scans and stores credit card data, which is then used elsewhere to make fraudulent purchases.

The three men were sent to the Orleans County Jail and held on $100,000 bail. An investigation is ongoing.

Police ask anyone who may be the victim of credit card fraud to contact their local police agency. Individuals should compare their credit card statements to items they have actually purchased and look for possibly fraudulent charges.

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