Paying for pizza deliveries with your credit or debit card? Watch out for scammers

A fraud expert is warning Torontonians to watch out for their debit and credit cards after hearing one man’s story about being scammed while paying for delivery pizza.

Raihan Shirazi told CBC’s Metro Morning  Wednesday that about $2,500 was stolen from his accounts after his debit card was swapped out while paying for his Pizza Pizza order on Saturday.

Shirazi said he was holding his card when the delivery man appeared at his door without a payment machine.

“When he got his machine I guess at that time he got the fake, same identical card. I handed him the card and he [swapped] it so fast, like it was almost like magic,” he said.

Shirazi said he entered his PIN on the machine, and it was only after the delivery man had left, when he received texts from his bank about unusual activity, that he realized something was up.

“I looked in my wallet … This is not my card!” he said.

In the meantime, Shirazi said about $2,500 evaporated from his accounts in the form of withdrawals and transfers.

Police investigating scam

The card-swap is a theft tactic that University of Toronto professor Joseph Paradi sees frequently.

“Whenever there is the opportunity for the card to be exchanged is an opportunity for it to be stolen,” he said.

The only way to protect yourself, said Paradi, is to never let your card out of your sight.

He says the scammers will use payment machines to record your PIN and then hand you back a dummy card identical to your own.

Toronto police confirmed to CBC News that they’ve received calls from people alleging they were scammed in a similar manner and that they are investigating. They also say Shirazi has not yet filed a formal report.

Shirazi also said that he has yet to get his money back while his bank conducts an investigation.

Pizza Pizza responds

A lingering question for Shirazi is how the delivery man he says scammed him was involved with Pizza Pizza.

He said in the immediate aftermath of the discovery of the fake card, his partner called Pizza Pizza and was told by a representative that the pizza which Shirazi had ordered for delivery had in fact been picked up.

Shirazi questions how that could have happened, and whether Pizza Pizza employees checked the identity of the man who picked up the pizza.

Asked if Pizza Pizza has ascertained whether the man who showed up at Shirazi’s door was in fact posing as a delivery man, the company had no response. Nor did it address what specific checks are in place to make sure pizzas are being picked up by the right person, or what it might be doing to help victims.

Instead the company offered a statement saying, “Nothing means more to us at Pizza Pizza than the safety and security of our customers and their personal information.”

The statement goes on to say the company is assisting law enforcement with their investigation and that it has made contact with all its restaurants, making “adjustments to operational procedures” to help prevent such incidents from happening again.

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