Investigators with the York Regional Police Financial Crimes Unit would like to make citizens aware of an ongoing taxi fare scam.
Typically in this scam, two suspects who are operating together, pose as a taxi driver and a passenger. A victim is approached by the fake passenger and asked for help. The fake passenger explains that they only have cash and no other options to pay a cab fare, but that the cab driver will not accept cash due to COVID-19. The fake passenger offers the victim the cash if they would be willing to pay the fare using their debit card.
If the victim agrees to assist, they are required to insert their debit card into a point of sale terminal that has been modified by the suspects. When the victim enters their PIN number, the data is captured on the terminal and when the victim is not looking, their card is taken by the suspects. They are handed back another card that looks similar to their own and generally do not discover until later on that their card had been taken. The cards handed back to victims have typically been previously stolen cards the suspects have already used.
The majority of the reports investigators have received on this scam have been occurring out front of shopping areas and in the parking lots of stores in Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Markham.
York Regional Police is reminding citizens to be cautious of anyone asking for money in parking lots. You can help protect yourself by never handing over your credit or debit card for payment. Most point of sale machines allow you to either tap or insert your card, so that you can maintain possession.
If you have been a victim of a fraud, and have lost money, report the incident promptly to the York Regional Police Financial Crimes Unit either online at https://www.yrp.ca/en/online-reporting/Report-a-Crime.asp or by calling 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6627. To report frauds where no money has been lost, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.