Home Money SALLY ORDERS IT: The expensive taxi scam hitting Brits abroad and the only check you need to do before entering your PIN number

SALLY ORDERS IT: The expensive taxi scam hitting Brits abroad and the only check you need to do before entering your PIN number

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What to do if you are a victim of rate fraud while on vacation? Sally Hamilton explains

When My wife and I were in Paris at the end of April, taking a five-minute taxi down Avenue George V. The driver refused cash and then told me my Halifax credit card was useless. I ended up paying with my John Lewis credit card using chip and pin.

When I checked my account online a few days later, I discovered I had been charged €500 (£425) plus almost £12 in foreign currency conversion charges.

I contacted NewDay, the provider of the John Lewis credit card, and was told the charge was for a restaurant bill. I explained that the payment was related to a taxi ride and not a meal.

The agent said that since I had paid with chip and pin, it was my fault.

GT, Knutsford, Cheshire.

What to do if you are a victim of rate fraud while on vacation? Sally Hamilton explains

Sally Hamilton responds: With the Paris Olympics starting next month, I thought his unfortunate experience would serve as a warning to sports fans heading to the French capital, so they can avoid this type of fee fraud.

The driver clearly got him into trouble by refusing two forms of payment. When he used the John Lewis card, he was rightly in a hurry to complete the transaction.

If I were charitable, I would suggest that the driver simply made a mistake in paying the fare. I’m afraid that’s unlikely, since the payment went directly to the restaurant’s account. This was a scam.

This is not the first time I have come across this nasty trick.

Another reader was tricked while in Paris last year by a driver who, at first, pretended he didn’t speak English. He refused the cash and then hid the screen of his payment machine, so the victim couldn’t see that he was charging her €777 (£655) for a five-minute taxi ride instead of €7.77 (£655). £.55).

When he later saw the debit on his Sainsbury’s credit card account, he could see the inflated payment had gone to a hotel 300 miles away.

Despite my strenuous efforts to persuade Sainsbury’s that she was the victim of an obvious scam, they blamed her for entering her PIN and refused to refund her. She took her case to the Financial Ombudsman, who unfortunately took the same stance.

I felt even more aggrieved for you because your trip to Paris was special: not only were you attending your granddaughter’s wedding, but you and your wife were celebrating 57 years of marriage.

Being taken for a ride took the shine off a wonderful vacation. He was rightly angry that the driver had taken advantage of his trusting nature.

You told me that you wish you had used Uber, that it has never caused you any problems, and you wanted me to warn others.

Due to my previous experience with a fraudulent taxi bill, I had low expectations of success with your case. But after I explained the situation, John Lewis quickly investigated and confirmed that he would refund me after all – a total of around £437, including currency exchange fees.

A John Lewis/NewDay spokesperson says: ‘We are sorry to hear that this customer was the victim of a chip and PIN scam.

‘We work hard to help customers stay safe, but it is crucial that everyone remains vigilant and checks the amount they agree to pay.

‘As this is a known scam, we have refunded the customer and issued them a new card.

“We urge customers to think before parting with money or information, and question any payment request if they are unsure who they are paying or what they are paying for.”

I would support the company’s advice to be cautious. Readers using taxis in Paris (or anywhere else) should never enter their PIN until they are sure the sum on the payment screen is correct.

In the unfortunate event that you get scammed and realize it straight away, try taking a photo of the offender’s license plate and report it to the local police, then contact the relevant card issuer and hope it’s more John Lewis than Sainsbury’s in your answer.

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In 2020, I was scammed and had £173,500 taken from my First Direct account. They refunded me half of the money but since then I have not been able to make payments from my account without consulting the customer service team. It was frustrating so I started banking with Santander. But First Direct won’t let me withdraw £9,500 left in my accounts. Please help!

CS, via email.

First Direct restricts a customer’s account if it believes they “have fallen under the spell of a scammer or are susceptible to doing so.” He believes he may have been the victim of a cryptocurrency scam, so he restricted access to the account. Now you have freed up your money.


Last September, my son and I boarded a flight to Gibraltar but, due to strong winds, our plane was diverted to Malaga, Spain. The captain said we could get to Gibraltar on our own and that easyJet would reimburse us for the cost. We paid €223 for a taxi but easyJet rejected my request.

RP, Southampton.

EasyJet says customers can claim the cost of re-routing if their flight is delayed by more than 24 hours. Although this was not the case with his flight, easyJet agreed to refund him as passengers were informed at the time that they could claim to continue their journey.


After a wonderful Saga River cruise on the Rhine, my suitcase suffered serious dents on the trip home. I called Saga once we arrived in the UK and they put me in touch with their insurance company who told me I would have to pay an excess of £70. The case was worth it for that. Is there anything you can do to help?

SG, via email.

Saga says he’s sorry for the damage to his luggage. The company says that while correct procedures were followed, given the value of the suitcase, he will offer you £100 to replace it.


Beware of scam letters claiming to be from the FIFA World Cup international lottery, consumer group Which? warns.

The letters say the recipient’s name “pulled lucky numbers”, won hundreds of thousands of pounds and must call to claim the money.

But they will connect you with a scammer who will try to obtain personal and financial information.

Once scammers have these details, they can apply for credit cards and loans in your name.

If you receive this letter, please report it at royalmail.com/reportingscammail.

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Can Sally Sorts It help you?

Do you have a consumer problem you need help with? Email Sally Hamilton at sally@dailymail.co.uk; include the phone number, address, and a note addressed to the offending organization giving them permission to speak with Sally Hamilton.

Please do not send original documents as we cannot be responsible for them.

The Daily Mail or This is Money cannot accept any legal responsibility for the answers given.

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