It took two months, but the Halton Regional Police Service Regional Fraud Unit has arrested five individuals, operating as part of an organized fraud ring. The individuals in this group utilized bogus taxi vehicles to set up the offences, typically in busy retail parking lots. The fraud typically involved two suspects – one acting as taxi driver and the other acting as a customer. The fake taxi driver will refuse to accept cash from the fake customer for a fare. The suspect playing the role of customer will then prey on unsuspecting individuals nearby, asking them to use their debit card to pay the fare in exchange for cash (which will be given to the victim at the time).
The victim is then distracted by the suspect playing the role of customer, at which point the driver switches the debit card (retaining the victim’s card and giving them a different one back).. The bogus taxi vehicle used in the most recent incidents was identified as a silver 2007 Toyota Camry with a yellow “CIC Inc.” taxi roof sign.
Wednesday, investigators located and arrested the individuals responsible in Toronto. Following these arrests, search warrants were executed at two separate Brampton residences. Police located and seized evidence related to these frauds including:
Dozens of debit cards
Point of sale machines
Yellow “CIC Inc.” taxi roof sign
Numerous sets of stolen license plates
Approximately $35,000 in Canadian currency
$1,200 in fraudulently obtained gift cards
Fraudulent Identity Cards with associated debit and credit cards
As a result of this investigation, the five individuals (who are all male residents from across the GTA) were charged with:
Fraud Under $5000
Unauthorized Possession of Credit Card Data
Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
All five accused were released on an Undertaking.
Members of the community that have been victimized by fraud are encouraged to report these incidents to local police.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.