Taxi scammers are conning Torontonians again. This woman wants you to know the warning signs


Saja Kilani did not suppose twice when she was stopped on the road Sunday by a younger boy asking for assist paying his cab fare.

She says he instructed her the driver solely took card funds, however he solely had money. If she paid the driver, the boy instructed her, he would pay her again.

“My first thought is… if somebody is in a determined state of affairs, I’d need somebody to assist me in that state of affairs,” stated Kilani, who’s from Toronto.

Despite her willingness to assist, purple flags saved popping up. First, the driver requested for her card, and when she handed it over, the boy tried to get her consideration by bombarding her with questions. And when she put in her PIN and reached to take her card again, the driver snatched the machine away and returned a card that did not have her title. 

That’s when she realized what occurred, received her precise card again, and cancelled it quickly after. But not everyone seems to be so fortunate.

“I know it is exhausting to admit that I’ve fallen for a rip-off, however I’d moderately admit that and have individuals not undergo it,” stated Kilani.

“If I had seen this on-line earlier than… I’d have prevented it.”

That’s what led Kilani to publish her expertise on TikTok. In simply at some point, she received greater than 800,000 views, 75,000 likes and over 2,000 feedback on her publish, which incorporates a part of her encounter with the alleged scammer.. 

It even caught the consideration of Meaghan Onorato, who put up an analogous publish went viral in May on the identical platform after getting scammed in an analogous means. In her case, she misplaced $1,400 earlier than her financial institution refunded it.

“I’m not stunned, however it’s actually saddening, I feel, to hear that it is nonetheless occurring to individuals,” stated Onorato.

Kilani and Onorato fell sufferer to a textbook taxi cab rip-off — when drivers, typically with an accomplices, steal clients’ card info by distracting them then swapping it with a unique card. While this kind of rip-off is not new, Toronto police Const. Marco Ricciardi says the service has seen a “fairly important” enhance, and anybody might be a sufferer.

“You have to remember that if somebody is saying that their taxi cab will not be accepting money, that is the first flag,” stated Ricciardi.

Most of those scams happen throughout regular enterprise hours, and in locations like plazas and malls, he says. While some scammers use pretend taxi signs or stickers to idiot clients, there is no frequent profile for perpetrators — the solely factor they’ve in frequent, Ricciardi says, is attempting to make a “fast buck.”

Const. Marco Ricciardi of the Toronto Police Service says individuals proceed to fall for cab scams, the place drivers work with an confederate to distract clients and steal their card info. (Shutterstock)

“They’ll attempt to hit your restrict as quickly as they will, and so they’ll make purchases at varied areas,” stated Ricciardi.

“And they’ll proceed to use it till there’s nothing left in the account.”

Ricciardi says individuals ought to hold a watch out for cabbies who say they do not take money, since all licensed taxi firms take money as fee. And if you fall sufferer to this rip-off, make certain to report it to your financial institution and the police, he says.

But if you end up questioning if a cab is legit?

“Just stroll away, as a result of it is going to save you a whole lot of heartache and some huge cash,” stated Ricciardi. 


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