Business owners in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood warn of vehicle repair scam

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A Beaches business owner has decided to speak out after he says he was nearly scammed out of his hard-earned cash.

Kay Phung tells Global News he is co-owner of Velvet Beauty, a nail salon located at Queen Street East and Woodbine Avenue.

He says they were contacted more than a week ago by someone claiming to be the owner of nearby King Panther Tattoos.

Phung says the individual told them they had a flat tire and needed $80 in cash to pay a tow truck driver.

“Five minutes later, the scam guy showed up to take the cash and when he got the cash, he ran right away,” he said.

Struck by what had just happened, Phung went to the tattoo shop close by. He found the actual owner, who then informed him that he was not need of cash for his vehicle.

He quickly left the shop and tracked the stranger down a short distance away, and managed to get his money back.

“I say ‘Give me the money back. If not, I will contact the police.’”

Meanwhile, Imam Azhari says he doesn’t drive.

He tells Global News that he was also contacted last year with the caller making a similar plea.

“Someone contacted us…pretending to be the owner of one of the neighbouring businesses and asking specifically about the money because their car broke down,” Azhari recounted.

He says he told the male caller that he knew the ownership team, and that, in large part, it was composed of females. Azhari says when he mentioned that, the caller hung up.

He tells us at least one other business was contacted, also under the guise of him needing vehicular assistance.

While Kay Phung was able to get his cash back, Const. Alex Li of the Toronto police does not endorse chasing after potential scammers.

“You’re chasing someone who you have no clue if they’re armed and at the end of the day, this is something that could be replaced. Your life cannot,” he said.

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