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Taxi debit card fraud is back, Toronto police warn

Last Updated Mar 24, 2017 at 1:14 pm EDT

Toronto police are warning the public about debit-card fraud in taxis, an issue that first surfaced last year.

“Nothing has changed in the way [the fraud] is occurring; we just hadn’t had any incidents for a very long time. In the past week, we’ve had a few come across our desk,” Det. Michael Rogers told CityNews on Friday.

“By and large, it is safe to drive in taxis.”

The way the fraud happens, police say, is that the taxi operator switches out the customer’s debit card with another one from the same bank. It happens when the customer and the driver are passing the payment machine back and forth.

That gives the driver both the card and the PIN. Police say it’s easy to do, especially in low light.

Rogers said it’s not yet known if the same people are responsible for the new round of scams. About 10 cases have been reported, Rogers said, and it’s not limited to just one taxi company. One person has also been arrested.

Rogers is advising customers to pay attention to their debit card and if possible, pay with cash or a credit card.

CityNews first reported on this particular taxi scam last year, when at least 75 passengers were ripped off tens of thousands of dollars after their debit cards had been swapped by their driver and their bank accounts were drained.


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