July 9, 2012 at 9:17 am #75035
Warning: Several Mediterranean looking youngsters and most definitely under 14 years of age, are working as a gang by observing and remembering the release code prints in casual users hands and quickly releasing a bike with it or helping the user key in the number incorrectly whilst whispering or showing the number to another, who then successfully withdraws another bike and rides off with it.
The user cannot then activate this code or indeed hire another bike and the eventual costs which could be prohibitive are on their card.
This was happening on Saturday late afternoon when I docked and helped a tourist in the predicament.
We phoned TFL help desk and the agent told him to report to the police, presumably to obtain an incident number, which would allow them to subsequently effect any refund for a potential overcharge. They were able to provide the bike number but of course this was nowhere to be seen and despite challenging what appeared to be the ring leader, they continued to stay there. The tourist went off to the park police office. Whilst I was there two other users, who were also getting red lights with their codes and unable to get further ones after the 10 minutes valid period, even told the local police on duty for the park event, but they didn’t seem very interested and also told them to report to the park police.
Worryingly I observed one of the gang triumphantly waving a credit card at the others whilst riding a bike and was seen later attempting to use it. Couldn’t tell if it was stolen but presumably in that case they would not know the pin if it was required?
I have sent an email to TFL informing them of the scam and asking them to think up urgent preventative action.
Presumably the gang will operate in all of the park areas where there are docking stations as these are very busy, mostly with unsuspecting tourists.July 10, 2012 at 7:01 am #85504
Thanks for the warning!July 19, 2012 at 9:13 am #85506
interesting scam… to what benefit is it to the theives to be able to hire a bike on someone elses code?July 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm #85507
That they don’t have to return it as any charges for lost or late returns will go to the victims code.
I’ve also noticed an influx of people hanging around at docks and waiting for people that return the bikes and don’t check for the green light, then taking bikes that fail to dock properly
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