Two men are behind bars for financial fraud and ATM skimming in Savannah.
Julio Lopez Da Silva, 38, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, while Anderson Santos, 41, pled guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft, in U.S. District Court in Brunswick. Da Silva faces up to 30 years in prison, while Santos will serve a mandatory two-year sentence. Parole is not an option in the federal system.
The men were arrested on Dec. 3, 2017 in Savannah. Police searched a Port Wentworth hotel where the two were staying and discovered skimming equipment and nearly $20,000 in cash.
The cases were investigated by the United States Secret Service, along with the Rincon Police Department, Savannah Police Department, Port Wentworth Police Department, the Richmond Hill Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The guilty pleas from Da Silva and Santos follow similar recent cases in the coastal area, all involving foreign nationals operating illegal skimmers. According to officers, ATMs and gas stations are considered danger zones because they’re less secure and transactions require very little supervision.
Here are tips to avoid becoming a victim:
- Pay inside at a bank or a gas station
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card
- Cover the PIN pad with your hand to prevent hidden cameras from snapping images
- Look to make sure the panel shows no signs of tampering
- Choose a gas pump closer to the store
- Watch your accounts for any suspicious charges