The next time you take a cab ride, take note of a few things: are there large dents on the car? Is it older than most taxis? What about its medallion? As CBS5 reports more and more illegitimate taxis, limos, and town cars are hitting the street, possibly endangering riders.

Besides a potential lack of insurance or valid driver’s license, renegade cab drivers might not have passed a background test, all of which are required of SF’s legit taxi drivers.

And they might try to rip you off. According to CBS5, inspectors have seen at least one bandit cab “rigged to charge double what a real San Francisco taxi would charge.”

The SFMTA says the bandits are also robbing legitimate taxis of valuable profit, as medallions are expensive enough to leave many drivers starting their day almost $200 in the hole.

Some things to look for when hailing a cab: Does it say “San Francisco Taxicab” on the back and side? Is there a sticker showing that the cab is licensed to work at SFO? If so, chances are your cab is for real.

Another thing to look for is whether or not the cab’s phone number has an area code. If it doesn’t, you may have encountered a bandit taxi.

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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