The MTA is warning commuters who have lost things in the city's mass transit systems, airports and taxis about a website that charges them to get their belongings back.
The agency is telling customers not to use the site lostpropertynyc.com, which purports to work with the MTA, the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission and the area's airports to help track down lost belongings, charging a $50 fee for the service.
The MTA says that it doesn't work with the site and maintains its own lost and found page, which doesn't charge any fees.
The MTA says it has tried unsuccessfully to contact the site, and the authority's police force has launched an investigation. It has also notified the TLC about the site.
“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.”
Some commuters came close to paying the fee to file a claim on the official-looking site.
"I filled out the form very carefully so they'd know exactly what it was, and then I hit submit and all of a sudden, it kind of stunned me," Metro-North commuter Dave Smith told NBC Connecticut. "I thought to myself, Metro-North is so bad now that they're charging me 50 bucks just to look for my item, much less find it."
Smith later found out that the site wasn't affiliated with the MTA but was able to find his item -- a custom helmet made using a 3-D printer.
The MTA doesn't know if anyone paid to file a claim. The site lists a testimonial from someone named Robert who supposedly lost a tennis racket on a Metro-North train from New York to New Haven, but it's dated 2015.