Transportation
4:21 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Port Authority Connect Card Fraud Being Investigated, No Personal Data Stolen

Riders are asked to purchase ConnectCards only from official retail kiosks and other official locations, such as Giant Eagle.
Riders are asked to purchase ConnectCards only from official retail kiosks and other official locations, such as Giant Eagle.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County says several arrests are pending tied to the fraudulent reproduction of ConnectCards. ConnectCard is a smart card fare system now used by the Port Authority in an effort to phase out older paper and cardboard passes.  Multiple copies were made of four legitimate ConnectCards  and then sold outside of Port Authority approved channels; investigators did not say how many reproductions were made.

“We can tell you that no customer information is actually on any of the cards,” said Port Authority Police Detective Kevin Atkins, “so even if I were to hand you my card, you would have no information about me or any of the other people that we have as far as our customers are concerned, so no personal information at all.”

Atkins said the fraud was brought to light and electronic monitoring showed unusual activity related to the four cards. Because the investigation is ongoing he could not elaborate. One thing that sets ConnectCards apart from previous ticket systems is the ability to monitor activity electronically.

“Going forward, internally there is a system now in place to check for abnormal usage patterns so that we can identify it, we can report it to police if we spot it on our end, and then shut the card off,” said Port Authority Spokesman Jim Ritchie.

Investigators are asking the public not to buy ConnectCards from anyone outside of official retail points, especially if they are a lot cheaper than they would normally be; and they are also asking for the public’s help.

“The reason we are bringing it forward is we’d like to get some help from the public,” said Atkins, “if you do see or hear something, we’d like to hear from you as well.”

Since ConnectCards can be for different dollar values, it’s unclear exactly how much revenue was lost due to the fraudulent cards. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with additional information should contact the Port Authority Police at 412-255-1385.