Some taxi drivers have been subtlely scamming Canadians out of thousands of dollars recently and it's absolutely crazy. Yesterday, two Torontonian men reported their scamming incident to CBC News, and it turns out they are actually not the only Canadians to have had thousands of dollars stolen from them by taxi drivers.
Ryan O’Connor and Giordano Manuel told CBC Toronto that they fell victim to a debit card scam from local taxi drivers, on separate occasions. In total, they've had $7,600 stolen from them and so far, the thieves have not been caught and no significant leads have been found.
So how exactly did the taxi drivers scam their passengers? The victims said that the drivers would swap their debit card with one that looked the same, taking the victim's debit card. The thieves would later use the stolen debit card to take out money and buy items.
One of the victims, Ryan O’Connor, noticed that it was not a one time scam that only happened to him. "My biggest concern when I thought about this afterwards was not about me, I can handle it," he said. "I'm more concerned about this being a broader scam and that's what it appears to be certainly having read about it online".
It appears O'Connor is right because many other Canadians have reported falling victim to the scam or hearing about it happening. Since the incident has been shared onto a Reddit Toronto thread, this has prompted several other Canadians to share their similar experiences of getting scammed by Canadian taxi drivers.
Many people also expressed their frustration with the taxi system in Toronto on the Reddit thread and shared that they much preferred ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft. "And they wonder why people prefer Uber," commented Redditor ben2z and it got over 100 points. Another wrote, "And cab drivers wonder why the city residents didn't support them in their fight vs. ride sharing apps" and the comment got 33 points.
One person even said that this debit card scam was the reason they stopped using cabs at all, proving it is not an isolated incident and instead an ongoing issue. "This for me was the driving factor me to stop using cabs when these scams started to become more frequent," wrote NotThinkingAbout_IT and the comment got 25 points.
One of the victims that talked to CBC Toronto also shared this sentiment about taxis. "I think it is ridiculous because of how much the cab industry is struggling right now and how they are against Uber, but then this would never happen with Uber and it's always happening with cabs," said Giordano Manuel. "The taxi industry needs to do a better job of policing their vehicles, do a better job of screening their drivers, and a better job of ensuring the safety of the traveling public," he said.
If you want to avoid being scammed by taxi drivers, here are some important tips to keep in mind. Do not let your debit card out of your sight when you pay, and it's better to handle the machine and pay with your card yourself instead of handing it to the driver to insert. Always check the back of the card before you leave the taxi to make sure it's yours, and you can verify by looking at indicators like the signature.
If you can avoid using debit in taxis completely, that may be the best way to go. You can pay with cash instead and that way you will for sure avoid them getting your debit card information or swiping your card from you. Be wary if the taxi driver says that they don't take cash and only debit, which some Redditors have experienced, and instead insist on paying with cash.