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Police warn debit card scam involving fake taxi driver, passenger has reached Hamilton

Global News

Police say a scam that lures good samaritans to the aid of a customer in an apparent dispute with a cabbie has made its way to Hamilton.

Investigators say two victims have come forward with complaints about their debit cards being stolen following an encounter with alleged scammers.

Hamilton police’s major fraud unit says the rip-off has been a problem in Toronto and Halton Region for about two months now and police in those municipalities say they are investigating multiple incidents.

Read more: 6 arrested, including youth, in alleged Toronto taxi fraud scam

Detectives say the scam involves suspects posing as a taxi driver and a customer in an argument over a cash payment in a high traffic area.

The perpetrators then ask for help from someone willing to surrender their debit card for payment in exchange for cash, which is usually a $10 bill.

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Once the transaction clears using an apparent point of sale (POS) device, the victim is given another bank card resembling their own.

Unbeknownst to the victim, the suspects now have the original bank card and its PIN since the POS device records the card’s number.

Investigators say the stolen debit card is then used immediately to withdraw money or make purchases.

Read more: Hamilton’s fraud and waste hotline hailed as an early success

“It is very early in the investigation and we are working with other police agencies and financial institutions to identify those responsible,” Const. Jerome Stewart told Global News.

Detectives are urging residents to avoid the scam by refusing to give anyone their bank cards and not returning a point of sale terminal to anyone without taking your card out first.

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Also, inspect your card after a sale and cover your fingers before entering a PIN number.

The scam is similar to another around the GTA in 2019 which saw six people arrested for defrauding hundreds of passengers.

Toronto police say that fraud involved taxi drivers accepting only debit and credit card payments in order to record PIN numbers before returning replica cards.

Anyone who may have been victim to or has any information on such a scam, reach out to police at 905-546-3841.