Individuals around Toronto should be particularly cautious when accepting pizza deliveries. Toronto Police have announced that they are investigating “pizza delivery fraud” around the city and are asking for the public’s help to identify three men believed to be involved in the scam.
“Since mid-july Toronto Police, as well as neighbouring Police Services in the GTA, have been receiving reports of incidents in which debit cards have been compromised by persons posing as pizza delivery drivers,” the release from officials states.
Police have reported that these incidents include orders being intercepted by a suspect, who then delivers the pizza to the customer. The customer’s debit card is compromised when they pay on a hand-held payment machine and their card is swapped for a similar looking, but non-active card. The scammers then go to a nearby ATM to withdraw money and make fraudulent transactions with the card.
Domino’s customer lost $1,000 in scam
Mike Yakhni from the Etobicoke area of Toronto was a victim of this scam earlier this month after ordering food from a local Domino’s Pizza on July 6.
Yakhni went online at around 6:50 p.m. to order a pepperoni pizza, eight boneless chicken wings and a Coke on the Saturday night. Around half an hour later, a man arrived at his apartment door holding his pizza and the drink. He asked about his missing wings and the individual said he had forgotten them in his car but he would run down to grab them and be back in six minutes.
Before he went back down for the wings, Yakhni paid for his order on a hand-held payment terminal using his debit card.
“I tapped my card on his machine and it didn’t work and he said, here let me have your card I’ll insert it,” Yakhni told Yahoo Canada. “So I enter my pin and then it goes through, I don’t [ask for] a receipt.”
At this time, Yakhni’s dog started barking so he left the man at the door for what the customer describes as “about 20 seconds,” while he moved his dog to another room.
When the individual went down to get the rest of Yakhni’s order, he went onto his balcony and allegedly saw the man jog out of his apartment building and get into the passenger’s side of a black car. Then Yakhni’s cell phone rings and it’s a Domino’s delivery person on the line asking him to come downstairs to pick up his wings.
When he arrived at the street level of his building, a different man was standing there waiting for him wearing a Domino’s uniform.
Yakhni said the situation was definitely “odd” but at the time, he had just finished playing multiple baseball games and admitted he “wasn’t really thinking” because he was tired.
The next time Yakhni used his debit card was Monday, July 8 to buy a coffee at Tim Hortons that morning. The tap function didn’t work and when he inserted his card to put in his pin, the machine read “invalid pin.” That’s when he turned the card over and realized it wasn’t his.
Yakhni then opened is TD Bank app on his phone and discovered that $1,000 had been withdrawn from his account from an ATM machine.
“So I called the second driver, who actually was in uniform...and said, how did you know that I didn’t get my wings if you didn't see me and he’s like, oh somebody met me downstairs, said that they were Mike,” Yakhni said.
“He said, the guy met me downstairs and he gave me $40 cash and was like, keep the change.”
Watch for the uniform, Domino’s says
Domino’s does put the customer’s information on their pizza boxes for delivery, but the relationship between the two men who delivered food to Yakhni that night is currently unknown.
Yakhni filed a formal report with Toronto Police and was able to give them images from the building’s security camera of the individuals outside the apartment building. After he contacted TD Bank and explained the incident to the fraud department, Yakhni was able to have the funds returned to his account six days after the original incident occurred.
“TD was great, thankfully they flagged my card as soon as the first deposit was made from my account because I guess it wasn’t a usual pattern,” Yakhni said. “I’m just really more disappointed in Domino’s...everything just didn’t make sense to me.”
Yakhni has contacted Domino’s head office about his issue and the social media team for the company followed up with him when he started to share his story on social media, but at this point he has not received any information from the company.
“At Domino’s, our customers always come first as their safety, satisfaction, and trust is paramount,” Jeff Kacmarek, VP, marketing and new product development with Domino's told Yahoo Canada in an email statement. “To help ensure our customers do not fall victim to these scams, we have increased our practice of contacting customers before a delivery providing them with the name of the delivery expert which should be confirmed when the delivery expert arrives.”
“If a person attempts to deliver a Domino’s order and is not wearing a Domino’s uniform, customers should refuse the order and contact their local store immediately.”
Yakhni said the more information a customer can get about their driver the better, but says asking individuals to refuse a suspicious order puts the customers in a “tough situation.”
“If you refuse the pizza, I don’t know what they’re going to do,” Yakhni said.