London Police are appealing to the public for information as they continue to investigate a string of fraud incidents reported earlier this month involving fake taxis.
Since their investigation was first announced earlier this week, police said Thursday they have learned of additional cases involving alleged fraudsters, bringing the total number of incidents to more than 35.
In addition, the police stated that they now believe that at least two fake taxis were operating at the same time in the city during the first week of January.
In the incidents, police said the suspects were seen driving a silver Nissan Altima as well as a black Nissan Altima, both with a fake taxi sign on the roof.
$100,000 stolen in taxi fare scam: London police
In each case, police say the suspect will approach a member of the public while near the fake taxi or after exiting, claiming that the taxi driver will not take his money because of the Omicron variant.
After asking the victim for help using their debit card, the suspect promises to pay the money and offer an amount of cash. Police say the victim will then pay the fare using the discount machine provided to her.
Once the fare is paid, the police say, the suspect will hand the money to the victim, while the driver returns a receipt and a similar debit card.
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Later, the victim learned that his account had been cleaned with a large amount of money – between $1,000 and $13,000 – and that the card they were given was not theirs.
As of January 10, police said a total of at least $100,000 had been defrauded from victims as part of the scam.
Police say they have not received any additional reports since that date, but note that criminals are constantly updating their methods and techniques.
One of the suspects is described as a man between the ages of 18 and 20 wearing a puffy jacket, Timberland shoes and a black hat.
The second suspect, who is also male, is approximately 40 years old and was wearing black clothes, a black hat and a medical mask.
“London Police are encouraging citizens to be vigilant with regard to the security of financial documents and access to electronic financial services,” the police said in a statement.
“Members of the London Police Service’s Financial Crimes Unit are interested in speaking with anyone who may have information relating to this series of frauds.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the London Police or Crime Stop Center.
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