The MTA is warning customers that they are not in any way affiliated with a website claiming it will help riders on NYC subways and buses, Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road with their lost items. Especially since the website requires personal information, which is then used to generate a bill!
While that seems like a no brainer, at least one poor guy got duped. A Metro-North rider, Dave Smith, was trying to find his misplaced 3D printed fantasy football helmet; according to the NY Post, "Smith said he initially went to Grand Central to the lost and found, but was told he had to file a claim online first. When he Googled 'Metro-North' and 'lost and found,' he went to the bogus site." Smith said, "I thought it was unbelievable that Metro-North is charging me $50. I was pretty upset about the whole thing. I thought it was a Metro-North site. I thought their new policy was you have to pay 50 bucks. It’s a scam."
Here's what the MTA says about "NYC Lost Property":
The website implies that it contacts the MTA on behalf of the customers seeking lost property. However, the MTA’s lost and found offices do not do business with lostpropertynyc.com or any other third party company claiming to act on behalf of people who have reported lost items. The MTA’s lost and found offices return lost items only to those claimants who can identify that they are the rightful owners of the property.
“Anyone looking to submit a claim for lost property needs to go through the MTA’s official website,” said MTA Police Chief Michael Coan. “There is no charge to submit a claim to any of the MTA’s lost and found units.”
The MTA Police Department has launched a criminal investigation into the website. Because the website is also soliciting information from taxi and airport customers, and the MTA has notified the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Further, the MTA wants riders to know they can "can submit a lost property claim free of charge and directly to the MTA online, by phone, or in person. There is no charge for submitting a lost property claim to the MTA’s lost and found offices."
Last year, MTA says its lost and found offices "received 67,320 lost items, and returned 34,572 of them to their owners while fielding more than 73,000 queries about lost items from customers."