CTA to Terminate Employee for Theft-UPDATED

October 22, 2007

The Chicago Transit Authority said today that it is terminating a customer service representative who was one of three people arrested as part of an investigation into the theft of five credit card numbers of CTA customers. Miranda Smith has been charged with one count of Official Misconduct; one count of Aggravated Identity Theft; and three counts of Identity Theft.

The CTA's Inspector General's Office worked jointly with the Chicago Police Department on the investigation that resulted in the arrest of Smith, 22, of Chicago. The Inspector General launched an immediate investigation when alerted by a customer who noticed unauthorized activity on a credit card account that was used for CTA fare media. Days later, the Chicago Police contacted the CTA regarding a similar complaint they had received and the investigations were combined.

Smith was employed by the CTA for the last year as a customer service representative and, in the course of her duties, Smith periodically handled inquiries from customers that required credit card transactions. She has admitted to using credit card numbers for personal gain. Smith is currently in jail because she is unable to post bond. The CTA has already begun termination proceedings against Smith.

?Our customers have the right to expect the CTA to protect private information that they entrust to us and we take breaches of that trust very seriously. We will not tolerate abuse of our customer's trust. When we uncover violations, such as in this case, we will terminate the employee and seek prosecution to the fullest extent of the law," said CTA President Ron Huberman. ?The CTA Inspector General's office is to be commended for identifying this situation and they will continue to conduct investigations throughout the CTA to make sure further misconduct does not occur."

No other CTA employees are involved in the case. Investigators said that the CTA's database is equipped with security codes that restrict access to customer credit card information so Smith only had access to numbers for phone transactions that she personally handled. Records indicate that in the past year Smith handled credit card transactions for 373 customers. Based on the investigation, the CTA believes that the number of victims may be approximately 10% of the customers she handled. The CTA is notifying all 373 customers who may be potential victims and will be offering them credit monitoring services for a period of one year.

?We recognize that this will result in some difficulties for customers who dealt with the particular agent. We are calling each of them and recommending that they carefully review their credit and debit card statements for unauthorized use. The CTA will be providing monitoring services to help them do that," said Huberman.

Customers who notice a problem should notify their credit card companies immediately and contact the CTA's Inspector General's Office at (773) 282-8463.

Based on their investigation, the CTA's Inspector General's office is working with the Customer Service Department to tighten procedures and increase monitoring. Credit card transactions will be handled by a limited number of employees who will undergo additional training and monitoring and will be required to provide a daily log of transactions.

CTA's Inspector General's Office has set up a hotline for customers who believe they may have encountered issues with credit card transactions related to CTA. 312-681-2952

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