A fake taxi driver is preying on families in South Ribble.
A warning has been issued to families in South Ribble after reports that a fake taxi driver has been scamming holiday-goers out of their taxi fare.
The fake taxi driver has been targeting families with a scam in which he claims he can arrange transport to Manchester Airport at discount prices.
South Ribble Borough Council is today (June 18) warning people about the scam, which has left a number of families hundreds of pounds out of pocket.
Councillor Sue Jones, cabinet member for environment, said: "This is an absolutely disgraceful scam and a shameful attempt to con residents out of hundreds of pounds of hard-earned cash.
"We’ve had people phoning us to say their holiday plans are in doubt because they’ve lost out on all that money and will miss their flight.
"Our message is clear: be vigilant and always book your taxi with a licensed taxi company that employs fully vetted, licensed drivers."
She added: "We will be doing our upmost this week to share the message as widely as possible and if you are in any doubt about a taxi company, driver or their practices, please call the council immediately."
The taxi driver – who is completely unlicensed and not listed on the council’s database – has been arranging pre-scheduled trips for holidaymakers, claiming he will take them to Manchester Airport for "record-low prices".
But after taking the money up front in cash, the rogue "taxi driver" fails to turn up, and on other occasions, sends an unlicensed driver in his place who asks for the original payment again – a double scam.
The average price for a taxi fare from South Ribble to Manchester Airport is between £110 and £130 with local South Ribble licensed operators.
However, the shameless scammer is quoting either £75 or £80 for the journey.
The Council said that the "too good to be true" prices should be the first warning sign for residents.
A Council spokesman advised: "If you are ever in doubt about a taxi driver or taxi company operating in South Ribble, you can telephone the council on 01772 421 491 to verify their identity and licence.
"The number to call is 01772 421 491.”
Don't get conned - How to avoid being stung by the South Ribble taxi scam
There are some tell-tale signs which instantly expose a rogue taxi driver.
According to South Ribble Borough Council, you should look out for the following:
1. Text messages which offer “Great deals on school holiday airport runs”
2. Prices that are too good to be true: if they say they can do an airport run for £75, it’s likely to be a scam, because we know for a fact that the average price for this journey should be upwards of £110
3. The rogue taxi driver does not have a taxi licence. If you ask to see their website, or to see their licence, they will have nothing
4. A rogue taxi driver can also be spotted by their vehicle. An unlicensed vehicle such as the ones used by the con-artists will have:
- No official taxi plate on the bumper
- No proper signage/affiliation to taxi firm
Local authorities work with taxi drivers and firms to ensure all vehicles are properly insured and fit for purpose.
Licensed drivers also have to be thoroughly checked to ensure their suitability and fitness.
Have you been stung by a fake taxi driver? If so, and if you'd like to share your story, contact the Post on 01772 838 107.