taxi scam toronto

Toronto police warn of weird taxi scam with fake driver and customer

Toronto police have long warned of a taxi scam where a driver steals a customer's debit card and proceeds to drain their bank account, but it seems there's a new kind of taxi fraud residents should also be looking out for. 

The Toronto Police Service issued a public safety alert this week warning people of an ongoing investigation into a taxi fraud scam in which two scammers pose as a taxi driver and a customer, respectively. 

TPS says it's been reported that a fake taxi parks in a high traffic area with one suspect posing as the taxi driver and another posing as a customer, and the two suspects pretend to have a loud argument where the driver refuses to take cash due to COVID-19. 

"A member of the public overhears the argument and offers to help by letting the suspect use their debit card to pay for the cab fare, in exchange for cash," reads the public safety alert. 

The victim then inputs their debit card PIN number into the modified Point of Sale terminal, and the device records the card data and PIN number. 

After the transaction is successful, TPS says the victim is given another bank card resembling their own and accepts cash from one of the suspects before leaving. 

"The suspects are then in possession of the victim's actual debit card and use the PIN number to make a number of fraudulent purchases and/or withdrawals," reads the alert. "Police believe there may be others operating similar scams as well as further victims."

Police are urging anyone who has any information about this scam, or believes they have been a victim of it, to contact them, and they also have some advice for residents to help them avoid being duped.

TPS says taxi users should never leave a debit or credit card unattended inside a Point of Sale terminal anywhere or at any time, be aware of taxi numbers and company names when using their services, and be aware of the driver's identification on display in clear view in the rear of the cab. 

To avoid falling for this scam, residents also shouldn't make
payments for an unknown person using a personal card in exchange for cash, they should inspect their card after each transaction to ensure it's their own, and always cover their fingers when entering a PIN. 

And, if you happen to hear a taxi driver and a customer having a loud argument about payment — no matter how badly you want to help — it's probably best to just keep walking.

Lead photo by

St-Even


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