The Council has been made aware of a fake taxi driver who is preying on unknowing South Ribble residents with a scam in which he claims he can arrange transport to Manchester Airport at much lower than average prices.
The council is issuing a warning today to help spread the word about this scam, which is leaving residents hundreds of pounds out of pocket.
The taxi driver – completely unlicensed and not listed on the council’s database – is arranging pre-scheduled trips for holidaymakers, claiming he will take them to Manchester Airport for record-low prices.
However, after taking the money up front in cash, the taxi driver does not 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 reckless scammer is quoting either £75 or £80 for the journey – this should be residents’ first warning sign.
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.
Councillor Sue Jones, Cabinet Member for Environment at South Ribble Borough Council – whose portfolio includes Licensing – 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.
“We will be doing our upmost this week to share the message as widely as possible and if you have in any doubt about a taxi company, driver or their practices, please call the council immediately.
“The number to call is 01772 421 491.”
Local authorities work with taxi drivers and firms to ensure all vehicles are properly insured and fit for purpose. Moreover, the drivers have to be thoroughly checked to ensure their suitability and fitness.
DON’T GET CONNED: THE SOUTH RIBBLE TAXI SCAM — WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
There are some tell-tale signs which instantly expose a rogue taxi driver.
- Text messages which offer “Great deals on school holiday airport runs”
- 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
- 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
- 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