The next time you get into a cab, double check that it’s legit. A man on Reddit noticed some shady activities going down in the cab he was riding in, and snapped photos of the taxi that was not TLC licensed. After a ride from Tribeca to Union Square, the dude went to swipe his card, only to be told that the machine in the back was broken. The cabbie swiped it through two machines in the front, one of which looked like a skimmer–you know, those nifty things that lift your credit card information? Yep.
“He swiped my card, and then I heard another swipe from the front seat, and I looked forward and I saw a second card machine on the passenger seat in the cab — and it was not connected to another other device,” he told CBS. “As soon as I became suspicious, I looked up in the back of the taxi to see that there was no medallion information; there was no driver’s license information…As soon as I became suspicious, I looked up in the back of the taxi to see that there was no medallion information; there was no driver’s license information.”
“It was a really convincing scam, so I can’t even imagine how many people’s credit card information was stolen, and they just didn’t even know about it,” he added.
CBS looked into it, and found that the fake cab had been in trouble with the TLC before, as far back as 2006. The keen-eyed passenger immediately canceled his credit card and alerted 311, but other less observant riders may not have been so lucky.
Then, over the weekend, Gothamist did some digging and found that there are up to nine other fake cabs running credit card scamming schemes. They’re usually cabs that are licensed in other New York towns, like New Rochelle, but don’t have a City medallion and thus are operating completely illegally. They can effectively charge whatever they want and not comply to safety regulations. So the next time you’re about to climb into a cab, take a minute to check the medallion number. It should always be a number-letter-number-number pattern, and the license plate will have a tiny TLC on it. Don’t get scammed.