Being scammed is not a nice feeling; it causes anxiety and stress. It’s a feeling Raymond Hodder of Port aux Basques says he knows all too well.
© Photo illustration
A Port aux Basques cabbie says he is out a considerable sum after being scammed recently.
“I took a pain in my gut the moment I realized what was happening,” said Hodder, who in December, trusted a customer and says he ended up on the receiving end of a financial scam.
The original call to Scott’s Taxi came in Dec. 18, but because of stormy weather, the company could not provide a driver for the cross-island trip. Hodder, a driver for the company, picked up the man the next morning.
Hodder described the man as a nice fellow who spoke to him all the way to St. John’s, telling him life stories.
Originally, the man said he was heading to the Delta Hotel, but changed his mind once they neared St. John’s. The people who offered to pick him up would meet him at the Village Mall, Hodder said.
He double-checked the quoted cab fare amount, which was $800 and offered Hodder more, saying the fare was too cheap, and added on a tip.
“He was on the phone, giving someone all of my information including my phone number,” said Hodder. “Then I got a message from a Western Union with a link to deposit the money.”
By this time the man had gotten out of the cab, was unloading his bags and putting them into another vehicle. When Hodder realized the link was fake, he says the man was gone.
From the parking lot of the mall, Hodder made a call to the RNC to report the incident.
“That’s when the frustration started,” he said. “There was some confusion over jurisdiction, and I was told to head back to Port aux Basques and report it to local RCMP, so I did. From there, it was 10 whole days before I could get a hold of the officer in charge.”
The man, who has been identified as Darwin McGrath now has a warrant out for his arrest. Hodder noticed this name was listed on provincial court dockets for transportation fraud and credit card fraud, similar to charges he expected over the incident.
Hodder found the man on Facebook and shared a picture of him and asked the public to keep an eye out for him.
“Instantly I started getting a lot of feedback from people that recognized him, people that named him, people who had previous problems with him,” said Hodder.
Hodder, who has been driving taxi for nearly 18 years, said he has never been in a situation like that before.
“Right now, it’s not about the money — it’s about the principle and hoping the police will catch this guy so justice can be served,” said Hodder.
He said he has learned a lesson for sure, and won’t be trusting anyone else, especially when it comes to high-fare rides.