MTA police and officials are urging LIRR customers who have purchased tickets from any ticket vending machines to check their credit or debit card statements for unauthorized activity, after LIRR employees discovered card-skimming devices and tiny hidden cameras attached to the machines at the Baldwin LIRR station during a routine inspection.
Police have identified Vasile Ovidiu Haidau, a 35-year-old Romanian national with ties to a credit card identity theft gang in California, as a suspect behind the scam.
Last week, LIRR technicians discovered a scanning device inside the credit/debit card slot in a Baldwin machine as well as a tiny camera hidden above the keyboard that was videotaping as LIRR customers typed in their PIN.
The LIRR routinely monitors its machines for signs of tampering. Police were immediately called to the scene and determined that the scammers had not been able to download any of the information picked up by either device so they do not believe that any LIRR customers who used that machine in Baldwin had their credit-debit information compromised.
Still, police are advising customers to take precautions to protect their PIN number when using a credit or debit card at LIRR Ticket Vending Machines and advise anyone who finds unfamiliar transactions on their bank statements to immediately contact their financial institution.
MTA Police said Haidau was last seen on Monday morning driving a 2014 Blue Volvo S80 traveling west on Sunrise Highway in Baldwin. The rental car carried the license plate number GXR5959. Detectives say Haidau should be considered dangerous and if in anyone spots him they a should notify the MTA Police Department Detective Division at (516) 222-6501 or the On Duty-On Call Detective Sergeant via MTA Police Communications at (718) 361-2201.