SCAM ALERT: Beware of This Surprising New Scam in Halton

Can you imagine buying a PRESTO card worth hundreds of dollars for a fraction of the price?

Hate to burst your bubble, but your dreams are not coming true.

Metrolinx is warning transit users of an ongoing PRESTO card scam since approximately 1,100 pre-loaded PRESTO cards were stolen from a third party vendor on December 27, 2017.

These cards are used to "tap on" and "tap off" of transit as a payment method.

The cards are only valued at $20, but they are being sold for hundreds of dollars online, according to the CBC.

"We have determined that none of the cards are in use as yet and we have initiated a blocking action, so if sold, the cards will be of no value to the purchaser," said Metrolinx in a recent statement.

According to the CBC, the scammers will say the value of the card is a few hundred dollars, say they don't need the card anymore (perhaps they're moving, or they bought a car) and will sell it for a reduced rate to a buyer online, then they cancel the card and freeze the money.

So, a buyer would be out a few hundred dollars and the card won't work.

This listing on LetGo, for instance, is a prime example of what's happening with the stolen PRESTO cards:

Back in March 2017, Metrolinx was warning customers of a similar scam, where scammers were selling PRESTO cards at “reduced rates” on Craigslist, Kijiji, and Twitter.

This is pretty dangerous, and no one want to lose a few hundred dollars.

What’s even more disturbing is that some of the scammers require you to meet them in person.

Here’s what Metrolinx is advising for safety:

  • Only purchase PRESTO cards online, from fare media vending machines that dispense PRESTO cards, or in person at authorized customer service outlet.
  • Never purchase a PRESTO card from online auction websites.
  • Do not purchase a used PRESTO card from a stranger.
  • You can register your card online to protect the money in your account in case your card is ever lost or stolen. If your registered PRESTO card is lost or stolen, report it immediately. A registered card can be blocked from use to protect the balance and transfer it to a replacement card.

Basically, it’s best not to purchase a PRESTO card from anyone or anything that’s not Metrolinx.

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