LIRR Riders Face Ticket Machine Scam

BY JOE MARVILLI
Staff Writer

The MTA Police Department has issued a warning to customers about a potential credit and debit card scam at Long Island Rail Road stations.

Four ticket vending machines in Queens and Nassau County have been affected by the scam. In each case, tiny cameras were hidden on the underside of a black metal strip that was placed across the top of the ticket machine.

These cameras would face down towards the customer as they went about their purchase, none the wiser that their card information was being recorded.

According to MTA spokesman Salvatore Arena, the Bayside Station camera was discovered when it came loose and fell from its perch on Oct. 15.

“It had been fastened to the ticket machine with an adhesive of some sort. But it was not immediately clear what it was or that it held a camera. That was confirmed when it was examined by MTA Police the next day,” he said.

MTA Police Chief Michael Coan said the strip blended perfectly, looking like a natural part of the machine. So far, the investigation has discovered cameras hidden on seven machines at four LIRR stations, specifically the Bayside and Great Neck stations on the Port Washington Branch, Merillon Avenue on the Huntington/Port Jefferson Branch and Greenvale on the Oyster Bay Branch.

While the MTA is not sure how long the Bayside device was up and running, Arena estimated it was only a few days. The Long Island devices appeared less than 24 hours after they were checked, meaning they were only up for less than a day.

Coan urged any LIRR customers who purchased a rail ticket from a LIRR ticket machine with a debit or credit card to check their bank or credit card company if there has been any unauthorized activity.

When asked if there were any leads, Arena said the investigation is ongoing.

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.