Richmond RCMP is warning the public about an odd scam involving a fake taxi and stolen debit cards.
Police say two men are usually involved. One drives a fake taxi and the other pretends to be a passenger who approaches a victim on the street to ask for help.
Similar scams have happened elsewhere, including last year in Toronto, but police say it’s new to Richmond. Since April 22, there have been four reports of a young man approaching people in a busy parking area.
The young man asks for help, claiming he can’t pay for his taxi because he doesn’t have enough money. When the victim agrees to assist, the fake driver says he won’t accept their cash due to COVID-19 and can only take debit.
The driver also claims his tap function doesn’t work and when the victim inserts their bank card into the modified terminal, it records their PIN and card data.
The scammers usually give the victim a bogus card back before leaving the area.
Then, the scammers use the victim’s real card for fraudulent transactions, usually totalling hundreds of dollars.
“Our Frontline and Economic Crime Unit investigators are working diligently to identify and locate the suspects. Meantime, we believe there is a need to warn the public of this fraudulent activity,” Cpl. Ian Henderson said in a news release Wednesday.
Police describe the fake taxi as a white Toyota Camry with a white taxi sign on top. They describe the fake driver as a Fijian or South Asian man in his early 20s and the fake passenger as a Middle Eastern man in his early 20s.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Richmond RCMP at 604-278-1212, quoting file number 2202-10686.