Coney Island

Are identity thieves tampering with muni-meters?

Treyger calls on DOT to take preventative measures

November 27, 2013 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Identity thieves will do anything to gain access to your credit card numbers and they are finding daring ways to get what they want.

Case in 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.

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The troubling incident should make Brooklyn residents think twice when they use credit cards to obtain parking receipts at muni-meters, according to Councilman-elect Mark Treyger, who will represent the 47th Council District (Coney Island-Gravesend-parts of Bensonhurst) starting in January.

One bank reported thousands of dollars of losses from more than 50 accounts stemming from the LIRR hidden cameras, according to the Times.

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.

Treyger called on the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to take measures to ensure that motorists using muni-meters are protected when they enter their credit card information.

He said DOT should install additional security measures to ensure the safety of customer information.

“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 said.

“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,” Treyger said.

“I’m calling on the Department of Transportation to take proactive measures against identity theft on the city’s muni-meters. Additionally, if there have been instances of identity theft on city muni-meters, New Yorkers need to know so they can take steps to recover lost money,” he said.

DOT officials did not respond to requests for information.




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