Take transit? Check your bank account, Vancouver-area police warn after card skimmers found

Published April 2, 2022 1:14 p.m. ET

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An unaltered Compass Card vending machine is seen next to an altered version in images provided by Metro Vancouver Transit Police.

Police are warning those who paid for public transit using vending machines at Metro Vancouver transit stations to make sure their credit and debit cards haven't been compromised.

Transit police said several so-called card "skimmers" were found on Compass Card vending machines at stations on the Canada Line recently.

One of the skimmers, which are devices used to obtain data through bank cards, was believed to be on a vending machine at Marine Drive Station on Thursday, March 24, between 6:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Another was found at Vancouver City Centre Station, and was installed sometime between 5 a.m. and noon on Thursday, March 31. A third, installed sometime between noon Thursday and 8 a.m. Friday, was found at YVR Airport Station.

Metro Vancouver Transit Police said it's unclear at this time whether any card data was actually obtained, so customers who used the machines at those stations are advised to check with their bank to ensure their cards haven't been compromised.

In addition, MVTP asked the public for help to watch for more skimmers on the vending machines across the TransLink network.

Police released photos of the devices so people know what to watch for.

"As seen in the photos, an unaltered (Compass vending machine) has a black camera above the PIN pad. A CVM with a skimmer has the black camera covered and a hole for a pinhole camera instead," MVTP said in a news release Friday.

"The material used to cover the existing camera may also be peeling away from the CVM surface, or have signs of glue or tape."

No further details were provided by police, who say that anyone who thinks they see a skimmer should leave it where it is, and report it to a station attendant or transit police.

This is not the first time the Canada Line has been a target for this technology. Police warned back in the summer of 2018 that the devices had been found on vending machines at YVR and Vancouver City Centre stations. 

Canada Line attendants perform regular checks of the machines so police were able to determine a window during which the skimmers were installed.

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