Thousands of dollars taken from eight victims during Homecoming

‘$1,445 was stolen from me’

Kingston Police urges community to be vigilant on scams. 
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“$1,445 was stolen from me.”

Oct. 16, after a traditional Homecoming celebration, Grace Chen, ConEd ’23, was on her way home with a friend when she noticed a distressed person.

“My friend and I were walking home, and then suddenly, we were approached by a young boy, claiming that he was a student and that he needed our help to ride a taxi,” Chen said.

Between Brock Street and Victoria Park, Chen recalled the boy asking her if he could borrow her debit card, because the taxi didn’t accept cash.

“He was holding cash in his hands, so he asked us, would you guys be willing to help me by just tapping your debit card?”

Chen said the boy looked like he was on the brink of tears, so she agreed and handed him her debit card.

“What I didn’t know was that while the boy was making small talk, the driver swapped my debit card, and gave me a fake one with a totally different name on it,” Chen said.

It wasn’t until Oct. 20 that Chen realized the card she was handed back to was fake and that $1,445 was missing from her bank account.

“I logged in [to my bank account] and found thousands of dollars were stolen.”

Chen immediately contacted the Kingston Police and filed a report. The police later informed her that she was the eighth victim from Saturday night to the taxi scam.

Chen was able to get in touch with another individual from Queen’s who went through the same experience.

“We were also given fake receipts […] but I didn’t notice until now that the receipt wasn’t even from an official Kingston taxi company here. It was from a brand or company called Toronto Fleet,” Chen said.

“This is a large amount of money, and we were ripped off so easily. This is obviously an offence.”

According to a press release, the Kingston Police are investigating this and other incidents that occurred in the downtown area on Oct. 16 and 17.

“There are two suspects involved in these incidents. One male acted as a taxi driver and the other male pretended to be a customer,” the press release stated.

While the vehicle was parked along the road, the “customer” would exit the vehicle and approach his victims by telling them he was unable to pay his fare and needed assistance.  

“The Suspects attended several ATM’s [sic] and stores to withdraw money and make purchases. The victims are at a loss between $2000 and $4000,” the press release read.  

Kingston Police urge the public to call the police immediately if there are any signs of reoccurring approach. They also request individuals who have information pertaining to the matter to contact Detective Constable Brain Hanwell at bhanwell@kingstonpolice.ca.

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