Treyger Calls For Better Identify Theft Protection On Metrocard Devices In Light of Recent Skimming Incidents
The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:
Council Member Mark Treyger is renewing his call for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York City Department of Transportation and other city and state government agencies to take immediate steps to better protect its customers from identify theft, especially when using a credit or debit card to purchase a MetroCard or pay for parking at a Muni-Meter. His requests come in light of reports that skimming devices used to steal banking information were discovered installed on vending machines at the 59th Street Columbus Circle subway station and at the Baldwin, Long Island LIRR station in the past two weeks. Councilman Treyger first expressed concern about the potential for residents to become victims of identity theft while using credit cards at ticketing machines last year before taking office after five individuals were arrested for planting cameras in machines at several Long Island train stations to record customers’ personal identification and credit card numbers.
“As I said months ago, the MTA and other agencies including the DOT must take steps to ensure that the public is not left vulnerable to identify theft. It is clear that criminals are using more creative and advanced ways to gain valuable personal banking information from unsuspecting residents and that this problem is becoming more and more prevalent in our city. The time has come for every government agency to review the steps they have in place to protect customers and not leave them vulnerable to this type of crime,” said Council Member Treyger.
This week, the MTA reported that a card-skimming device and hidden camera was found connected to a MetroCard vending machine at the southbound 1 train platform at 59th Street Columbus Circle. It was discovered Wednesday night by an alert subway rider who alerted a token booth clerk. Last week, credit card reading devices and hidden cameras were discovered attached to ticket machines at the LIRR’s Baldwin station during an inspection, and similar devices were used last year at stations along the Port Washington line. In addition to concern over this activity occurring at train and subway stations, Council Member Treyger believes that Muni-Meter machines remain especially vulnerable to identity theft, especially since they are often located in areas that are not monitored by cameras or routinely inspected.
In response, Councilman Treyger is calling for a full review of the procedures currently in place for the MTA, DOT and other agencies to prevent and respond to instances of identity theft. These steps include reviewing procedures for routinely inspecting machines for tampering, posting warnings on the machines alerting customers to take precautions against fraud, better informing customers when there has been a security breach impacting their credit card and increasing security around all machines to deter criminal activity and to assist in investigations should an incident occur.
“Identity theft is an incredibly serious crime that can take years for a victim to resolve. Right now, the reality is that customers are open to being victimized while using government-owned machines. I plan on working with the various city and state agencies and my colleagues on all levels of government to immediately put safeguards in place to help prevent any other New Yorkers from being targeted,” added Councilman Treyger.