It is being reported that fake taxi cabs are targeting NYC and ripping off its residents. Driving the cities famous yellow cars, fake cabbies are reportedly skimming peoples credit cards, stealing their card information and using it for fraudulent activity.
The cost of a city medallion to gain license to be a taxi service in NYC is approximately $1 million dollars. These cars are completely unlicensed and are usually older cars that do not meet the current regulations of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (T&LC). Drivers are charging higher fares, and not being subject to the usual criminal background checks.
The Gothamist recently published tips for how to spot a fake cab, and avoid scams:
Standard plates for black cars have a long string of numbers and letters, which always begin with a T and end with a C for certification, unless it is a vanity license plate (e.g. “FARELL 34″, or “MUSIC 22”) in which case it should still say T&LC in tiny letters at the bottom of the plate.
Taxi plates should always match the medallion number, a number followed by a letter followed by two numbers (e.g. 2P27) almost always with a tiny letter at the end of the sequence as well. (Though there are exceptions, including the Stand By Vehicle, SBV, which is essentially a temporary cab used by large garages when they’ve run out of other taxis. Those cabs have SBV at the end of the license plate.)
All medallion licensed yellow cabs will have a NY plate, and that plate will also say taxi in tiny letters at the bottom of the plate. (But this just means the taxi got certified somewhere in NY State, not necessarily in NYC)
Don’t get in the yellow cab if its license plate reads something like “ATA – 679.” Don’t get in the yellow cab if its roof light says “TAXI” or “020201”—medallion numbers are always on the roof, and they’re always number-letter-number-number. (Note: there are no o’s, i’s, or x’s in medallions as well—but there are 1’s.)