“Psst…Wanna buy a TriMet pass?”

Portland-area thieves have found a new way to make a quick buck. According to columnist Joseph Rose, scofflaws are using stolen credit cards to purchase TriMet (OR) passes (typically the $88 all-zone pass) and then selling the tickets at a discount. “TriMet passes and tickets have become like cash on the streets,” said Portland police detective Barbara Glass. “They’re sold at a huge discount or traded for stolen merchandise.” Unlike some ticket scams, it would appear on the surface that TriMet is not losing money. After all, these scammers are purchasing tickets at full price, albeit with a stolen card. But Rose points out that the agency is responsible for the covering the cost of fraudulent credit card transactions, and in 2010 TriMet paid just over $85,000 in chargebacks (out of $9.7 million in total transactions). TriMet estimates that the costs of adding fraud protection — such as ZIP code verification — would likely exceed the annual losses. “It’s the cost of doing business,” spokeswoman Mary Fetsch told The Oregonian. Link to full story in The Oregonian.

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