Metro News Release

For immediate release: August 11, 2014

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Metro warns public about fare card scams

Metro today cautioned riders not to buy discounted (plastic) SmarTrip cards from individuals or non-official sellers, as the cards may not work on buses or faregates in rail stations.

Metro is concerned that its customers may lose money by falling victim to discount fare card scams.  The transit authority routinely deactivates SmarTrip cards that are purchased fraudulently and then sold to the public for less than the fare value on the cards.  

The Metro Transit Police Department investigates potentially fraudulent sales of SmarTrip cards, including monitoring activity on online auction sites.  

“Riders should be aware that any SmarTrip card purchased from an unauthorized individual or website may be subject to deactivation and the loss of any value on the card,” said Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik. 

SmarTrip cards are available for sale at thousands of locations around the region, including dispensers at all Metrorail stations, at Metro Sales Offices, and through licensed vendors including CVS, Giant, Safeway, and Walmart.  Any card purchased from an individual or unlicensed source is considered invalid and may be flagged for deactivation. 

SmarTrip security tips

  • Only purchase SmarTrip cards at authorized locations such as Metrorail stations, CVS, Giant, Safeway and Walmart.
  • Never purchase a SmarTrip card from online auction websites.
  • Never purchase a used SmarTrip card from another person.
  • Register your card online to protect its value.
  • If your SmarTrip card is lost or stolen, report it immediately.
  • If you suspect fraud, notify Metro Transit Police at (202) 962-2121 or text MyMTPD.


News release issued at 3:29 pm, August 11, 2014.

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