Photos courtesy MTA
By Phil Corso

The Bayside train station was listed as one of four Long Island Rail Road branches to be hit with a foiled credit and debit card scam at various ticketing machines, the MTA Police Department said.

Authorities said a full investigation was launched to find out how and when tiny, hidden cameras were implanted onto seven ticket-vending machines throughout Nassau County and Queens, including the Bayside and Great Neck stations on the Port Washington line, Merillon Avenue on the Port Jefferson line and Greenvale on the Oyster Bay line. Each of the four branches runs out of northern and central Long Island, with Bayside the most westward station to be hit.

The potential scam prompted Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Chief Michael Coan to urge all LIRR customers to check with their banks or credit card companies to see if their accounts have experienced any unauthorized activity since purchasing tickets from the four branches.

Authorities first became aware of the skimming scheme earlier this month when one MTA customer reportedly found a small video camera on the floor at one of the train stations, Coan said. The MTA Police Department has since been checking hundreds of other machines at other LIRR stations, but did not find any others to be affected.

A spokesman for the 111th Precinct also said police would be working with the MTA to try to find out when and where the supposedly fraudulent pieces were installed onto the ticketing machines.

In each instance, authorities found a small hidden camera on the underside of a black metal strip that was planted across the top of each ticket machine with an adhesive, Coan said. It was unknown when they might have been put there, as MTA police said the black metal strips blended in perfectly and looked like they were in fact part of the machine.

MTA Police said the agency was yet to receive any reports of customers falling victim to the scam and actually losing money, but authorities would continue to investigate to see if any more of the more than 200 machines throughout the entire LIRR network may have been tampered with.

Coan said anyone who might have seen anyone acting suspicious or tampering with the ticket machines in any way should contact the MTA Police Department at 718-361-2247.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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