Pair spin bogus taxi tale to defraud strangers of $100K: London police

·1 min read

An elaborate con that taps into COVID-19 precautions and people's willingness to help a stranger in a jam has resulted in losses of $100,000 for several Londoners, police say.

Several individuals have fallen victim to a scheme in which a suspect approaches people after leaving a vehicle that appears to be a taxi and asks them to pay for their ride, London police said Monday.

In each case, the suspect tells the stranger the driver won’t accept cash because of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, and asks them for help in paying their fare, police said. The stranger is given a debit machine, pays the amount displayed and is handed their receipt, card and cash.

Later, the people who paid the fare learn a large sum of money was removed from their account, and their debit card was swapped for a lookalike, police said.

Those who were defrauded lost between $1,100 and $13,000, amounting to a total of $100,000, police said.

Police describe the first suspect as a man between ages 18 and 20 wearing a puffy jacket, Timberland brand boots, a black hat and a medical mask.

The second suspect is a man, about 40, wearing all black clothing, including a black hat and medical mask, police say.

Officers say the suspect’s vehicle is a four-door sedan with a fake taxi sign on the roof, believed to be a silver 2014 Nissan Altima.

Anyone with information related to the frauds is asked to contact police at 519-661-5515, ext. 5257, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press

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