Toronto Police have issued another public alert about an ongoing taxi fraud scam targeting people using their debit cards.

Police provided details of how this plays based on reports they have received in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon.

It is reported that the victims in these scams wave down a taxi cab and request a ride to a destination. Upon arriving at the destination, the driver insists that the victim pay with debit. The taxi driver may make excuses about not having change and not accepting credit payment. The taxi driver then provides the victim with a counterfeit debit machine. The victim inserts the debit card into the machine and enters the PIN number associated to the card. This counterfeit debit machine then records the victim’s PIN. After the transaction, the taxi driver then swaps the victim’s card with another card from the same financial institution. The taxi driver now has the victim’s debit card and PIN.

A modified version of this scam is also occurring primarily outside of the downtown core, police said.

According to reports, a vehicle resembling a taxi parks in a high-traffic area. A person poses as the taxi driver and the other person poses as a customer. The two pretend to have a loud argument and the taxi driver refuses to take cash due to COVID-19. A good Samaritan overhears the arguments and offers to help by offering to pay with their own debit card for the cab fare in exchange for cash. The good Samaritan inputs the PIN number for their debit card into the modified machine. The terminal then records the card data and PIN number. After the transaction goes through, the good Samaritan is given another bank card resembling their own card and accepts cash from the fake taxi customer. The fake customer and taxi driver are then in possession of the actual debit card and use the PIN number to make a number of fraudulent purchases and withdrawals.

The police are urging the public to take a few simple precautions to help prevent falling victim to such scams. “Keep your card in your possession, do not give your card to anyone and do not return a point of sale terminal with your card still inserted,” police said. “Cover your fingers when entering your PIN. Inspect your card after each transaction and ensure it is your card.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5200, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, online on our Facebook Leave a Tip page, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).

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