LASD News

FraudFriday-Taxi Scams


FraudFriday-Taxi Scams

Travel season is approaching, and you start to plan your vacations to get away from the hustle and bustle of your daily lives. As you reach your destination, you don’t think you can be a target for a scam, but in reality, you’re the perfect target. 

In other states using taxis is an excellent form of transportation, but don’t be fooled; scammers are waiting for you to get in their taxis to wheel you out of your money. 

Here are a few of the most common taxi scams to watch out for:

1. The Bogus Greeter: If you’ve arranged for your hotel to pick you up at the airport, they’ll have sent a driver to pick you up and will be waiting for you, holding a sign with your name. A scammer can see these names, and they scribble them down on their own nameplate. This fake greeter always charges a higher rate and takes business away from the hotel where you booked your reservation.
2. The “Broken” Meter: When you jump into a cab, you assume everything is in working order. But a dishonest cab driver can make a quick buck by claiming their meter is broken and charges you much more than the trip would actually cost.
3. The Pull-Over: It might seem like a nice surprise to see your name on the board of a person in uniform, but be wary. If you haven’t arranged transportation beforehand, it’s very unlikely your hotel went ahead and did it for you. In some instances, the driver will pull over and demand a hefty fee to take you the rest of the way. In a foreign country in the middle of the night, that can be terrifying.
4. Missing baggage: Full of excitement you jump into a cab without realizing the driver just handed your luggage off to his partner behind him – make sure you keep an eye on your things!

Several trip advisers give tips to avoid taxi scams: 
• Arrange transit plans in advance. Don’t leave yourself stranded at the airport with no idea how you’re going to get to your accommodations.
• Call your hotel ahead of time and see if transportation arrangements are included or available. If you book anything, make sure you print your paperwork and confirmation numbers. Ask for the name of your driver, and confirm it before you get in the car.
• Do NOT accept rides from anyone claiming to be your arranged transportation if you didn’t book anything.
• Do NOT accept a ride from anyone waiting casually outside the airport.
• Only accept rides from cab companies that are officially lined up in the queue outside the airport. Ask security if you’re concerned about a driver or cab.
• Use public transportation if it’s available. Lots of airports (especially the larger ones) have buses or trains that can help you get to the cities you need, safely and affordable.
• Ask your driver if the meter is working before you get into the cab. If it’s not, opt for the next available driver.
• If you take a taxi, offer to help the driver put your luggage into the trunk. Make sure you see the trunk close. If you can, keep your bags with you in the back of the cab.
• For peace of mind, consider traveling with a reputable tour company. Your guides are airport experts and are more than prepared to help you navigate through the airport safely.

While it’s hard to say if you will be a victim of a scam, it’s best to be aware of scams than fall victim to one. 

Always be EXTRA careful when traveling!