Fraudsters Ride on Dead Seniors' Cards - NBC Chicago

Fraudsters Ride on Dead Seniors' Cards

People are using dead people's cards to ride for free



    Celebrate This Holiday Season in Lively St. Charles / CTA
    34: The number of stations along the CTA Blue Line that runners would have to cross if the race were held on the tracks. Running the Chicago Marathon is equivalent to running the entire CTA Blue Line track from O'Hare to Forest Park.

    Chicago's regional transit authority buses and trains have been invaded by zombies.

    How else could you explain the thousands of CTA rides that have been charged to accounts belonging to deceased individuals?

    Oh, fraud, that's how.

    The CTA has given up thousands of free train and bus rides on Chicago’s mass transit systems due to fraudulent use.

    The Regional Transit Authority has identified at least 164 senior free-ride cards that have been used after the cardholder’s death.  One card alone accounted for 1,400 free rides, according to the Chicago Tribune.

    RTA Deputy Executive Director Grace Gallucci told the Tribune a recent RTA audit found 25,000 fraudulent free rides were taken in 2009, to the tune of $50,000.

    Officials are worried that’s just the tip of the iceberg: besides using a dead person’s card, people could be fraudulently using the more than 468,000 free ride cards issued to seniors and disabled riders. 

    The RTA has deactivated at least 3,142 free-ride cards belonging to people who have died after crosschecking cardholders’ names against death records.

    A house committee approved legislation Monday that would reduce the number of free ride cards issued.  Under the new law, only seniors under a certain income would be eligible for a free ride card.