The Taxi and Limousine Commission is keeping an eye out for vehicles roaming the streets of New York City that look like taxis but are actually fake cabs. The drivers of those phony cabs have not been vetted by the TLC; the vehicles do not have the proper insurance and have not been inspected by the TLC.
The real deal is that they may be licensed as taxicabs in smaller New York State towns such as New Rochelle, but indeed they have purchased an old New York City cab that is probably too old for New York City regulations. They are completely unlicensed by the city of New York. Which means they are stealing $1 million dollars, or whatever the current value is, for a City medallion, and also the driver hasn’t gone through any of the regulations for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (T&LC).
Because the Taxicab operates completely illegally within the City limits, they can charge whatever they want on the meter, they can steal your credit card information, and the cab can be unsafe to drive. Also in many incidents unknowing passenger or visitor’s safety can be in question.
Here’s how to spot a fake NYC cab:
- The medallion is missing on the hood of the taxi cab.
- There is no active credit card reader in the back, and the driver wants to personally swiping-in your card (could be a skimming machine to record your card numbers).
- 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).
- All official taxicab license plates will start with the letter “T” and end with the letter “C” or the letters “TLC” will be written underneath the plate number.
- Always check that there is a letter among the medallion numbers. This identifying code will be posted on the roof and side of the car, which numbers should all matched.
Here’s some prevention tips:
- Look for the credit card machine, NEVER hand your credit card to the driver.
- Be wary of giving personal information (such as passcode to the driver).
- Take a quick scan of the vehicle. Follow your instinct, if you are not comfortable with the layout of the taxi simply hail another one.
- While inside the vehicle, the driver’s “HACK license” with his photo and TLC number information should be posted on the divider or displayed on the dashboard.