AFTER SEVERAL months of conning his passengers into receiving fake bank notes, a clever scam operated by a Lisbon taxi driver has been thwarted by police. Although the driver in question has been caught, Lisbon Polícia Judiciária believe it is possible other similar scams are taking place.
The taxi driver would receive the fare from the client and, in an aggressive tone, would shout that the note was false. The passenger, taken by surprise and embarrassed, would take the note back and pay with another. The scam would involve the taxi driver exchanging the client’s first note for a fake one of the same value, returning it to the client and requesting a replacement for payment.
The passenger, usually an old or vulnerable person, would not realise what was happening. Due to the fact that clients did not ask for a receipt or take a note of the number plate, the scam continued for around two months, during which time more than 150 false notes, ranging from five euros up to 100 euros, were passed. It wasn’t until a woman, who realised she was being tricked, made a formal complaint that the 50-year-old man, who lived in the Lisbon suburbs, was stopped.
At the driver’s home, 70 false bank notes were discovered, as well as equipment for making counterfeit money. Although freed from custody by the criminal court, the man is obliged to report regularly to his local police station.