The New York City Police Department continues to be worried about credit card-skimming devices being placed on ATMs and other machines across the five boroughs, and NY1 has learned that police are investigating complaints of residents who say their credit cards were compromised after using Muni Meters. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
As more or more people use their credit and debit cards at Muni Meters, there are more opportunities for sneaky criminals.
"I refuse to use my credit card due to that fact, people can steal your identity," said one person. "So that's why I carry a bunch of quarters around. I have like $5 in quarters wherever I go."
The New York City Police Department says definitely keep a look out.
"When you're using a Muni Meter, it could be somebody looking over your shoulder, somebody next to you. It could be somebody across the street with a camera. It could be somebody across the street sitting in a car with binoculars," said Inspector James Klein of the NYPD Crime Prevention Section.
NY1 has learned that officers at the 61st Precinct in Brooklyn are investigating at least three reports of people saying their cards were compromised after using Muni Meters. Officers haven't found any skimming devices or cameras connected to the meters, but City Councilman Mark Treyger of Brooklyn has been worried about this issue for a long time.
"We have to make sure that this technology that we're asking residents to use is safe, safe for their use and to prevent fraud from occurring," Treyger said.
The NYPD's crime prevention team says it is heavily focused on preventing fraud. In addition to incidents at bank ATMs, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in recent months has found skimming devices placed on ticket and MetroCard machines that copy information from the magnetic strip on the back of debit cards. Secret cameras are often placed nearby to captured the PIN code a person enters. Police say look for those cameras and any equipment that appears suspicious.
"Swipe your card, but first jiggle the device to make sure it's not affixed by, usually, they affix it by tape. Make sure it's not loose, it doesn't come off," Klein said. "If it's loose, stop, call 911. The police will respond."
Police are trying track down international groups that are often running these setups.
"These rings are organized crime. They come from Eastern European countries, for the most part, Albania, Romania," Klein said. "They'll fly here to New York, and then they'll go to Chicago, then they'll go to L.A., and they'll make their rounds around the country, and they switch teams, they switch players on the teams, and then they'll fly back out."
The best advice is to cover your PIN code when entering it and don't use machines that look like they have been altered.