City Councilman-elect Mark Treyger expressed concern that muni-meters could be the target of identity thieves bent on stealing money from unsuspecting motorists. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle is reporting that Treyger wants the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install additional security around muni-meters in light of an identity theft scam that targeted the meters on Long Island.
As the world gets increasingly more digitized, the risk of identity theft grows as credit cards are flashed for the most mundane tasks. The Daily Eagle relayed the details of a New York Times report that proves this point:
Earlier this month, police on Long Island arrested five suspects, including a husband and wife, who allegedly planted cameras in ticket vending machines at Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) stations hoping to record customers’ credit card numbers as they purchased tickets.
The New York Times reported that authorities discovered the hidden cameras hidden in several LIRR ticket vending machines. As soon as the attempted identity theft was discovered, authorities quickly warned LIRR customers to check their credit card and debit card accounts for signs of unauthorized activities…
The identity theft ring was busted when two of the suspects returned to an LIRR station in Sea Cliff to retrieve the hidden camera, authorities said.
The suspects who were allegedly behind the scheme, Valer Zaharia, 38, his wife Teodora Zaharia, 27, Niculae Petre, 45, and Dorin Husa, 37, have been charged with identity theft and could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
The cameras were also found in Metro-North stations in Westchester.
The news of this particular identity theft scam has led Treyger to leap into action, demanding that the DOT increase security around the meters.
“When New Yorkers use their credit card on city muni-meters, they need to be confident that the city is doing everything possible to protect them,” Treyger told the Daily Eagle. “Identity theft is a serious crime, and it can happen to literally anyone. You can never be too careful. Criminals are getting smarter and smarter, and we must be using cutting edge technology to our advantage to protect New Yorkers.”
In the meantime, whenever using your credit card in public now, I recommend that you squish your body as close as possible to the machine to make sure that no camera or other tricky onlookers get a clear view of your digits.