Mind your debit card in taxis, police warn
Amara McLaughlin, CP24.com
Published Friday, March 24, 2017 9:27AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 24, 2017 2:37PM EDT
Taxi drivers are swapping debit cards when passing the terminal to customers paying their fare, Toronto police warn.
“Upon paying, if they’ve opted to pay with a debit card, at some point during that transaction from the point of sale, the taxi operator has been able to manipulate and swap the debit card and obtain the customer’s PIN number,” Toronto police Det. Michael Rogers told CP24 on Friday.
“After that the customer leaves thinking they’ve paid for the fare and they have their own debit card when in fact they’ve received a different one.”
This ongoing debit-card fraud isn’t specific to one taxi company, police said.
“Right now it’s safe to say it’s someone with access to a taxi or to more than one taxi,” Rogers said. “The taxi companies we’ve been speaking to have been very cooperative.”
These typically occur at night when manipulating the cards isn’t as visible to the passenger, he explained.
“Taxis are by in large safe, I think people are generally relaxed. They’re not paying attention necessarily which cab company they’re using,” he added. “In the daytime I think people pay attention to the graphic on the outside and they’ll remember which cab company they used.”
The debit card fraud is also happening when someone flags a cab, police say.
“We haven’t had any occurrences when they’ve been ordered. They take their ride, usually short fares.”
Beck Taxi released a statement Friday afternoon, saying they are fully cooperating with police.
“This alleged behavior is not representative of the thousands of hard-working, law-abiding taxi drivers in Toronto,” it said. “While police have stated that this is not connected with a specific company, we have offered our full cooperation in this matter.”
A spokesperson for the company said customers should insist on putting their own debit cards into the machine and retrieving it themselves once the transaction is complete.
Investigators said passengers should also be discreet with their PIN information when using taxis throughout the city.