I realize that the main reason this scam works is that most of us have a desire to help out when we can and often don’t think much before doing so, but come on, people. Unless this is your first day on your new planet, who has ever heard of a taxi driver that doesn’t take cash? If a legitimate cabbie is going to insist on something, it’s always going to be cash over card. I’ll allow for the one in a billion chance that maybe some guy somewhere in the early days of the pandemic briefly jumped on the all of the cash is infested with disease bandwagon, but that’s one in a billion for a reason. Perhaps there will come a day when all of this changes, but we’re not there yet. I’m not even sure we’ve reached the point where every cab company takes cards. Kitchener, a good sized city, only started taking them in the last eight years or so, and we’re in the centre of the tech company universe.
Saja Kilani didn’t think twice when she was stopped on the street Sunday by a young boy asking for help paying his cab fare.
She says he told her the driver only took card payments, but he only had cash. If she paid the driver, the boy told her, he would pay her back.
“My first thought is… if someone is in a desperate situation, I would want someone to help me in that situation,” said Kilani, who’s from Toronto.
Despite her willingness to help, red flags kept popping up. First, the driver asked for her card, and when she handed it over, the boy tried to get her attention by bombarding her with questions. And when she put in her PIN and reached to take her card back, the driver snatched the machine away and returned a card that didn’t have her name.
That’s when she realized what happened, got her actual card back, and cancelled it soon after. But not everyone is so lucky.