Quito Ecuador: Criminals intercepting taxi radio frequencies, targeting passengers waiting for taxis

Posted on April 30, 2014 • Filed under: Crime, Ecuador

Scenario: Criminals are monitoring taxi service radios. When a taxi is called by a customer, the pirate taxi listening in goes to the address of the customer. The customer has no idea that it is a thief picking him up in a pirated taxi.
elcomercio.com reported…A Wednesday night, Armando V. (protected name) left office, located at av. Coruña and San Ignacio, to the North of Quito. Minutes earlier he had called a taxi to to take him to his house in the sector of the old airport of the city. A car arrived and its driver said that it was the requested transport. Armando V. not imagined that this vehicle would be two criminals that asaltarían it. According to the taxi cooperatives, several similar cases have been recorded. The procedure is thus: a person calls a taxi, the cooperative communicates with its partner and sends the address of the client. At that moment, the criminals they capture the radio signal and arrive at where the victim to storm it. Radio taxi companies are aware of this type of robbery. Yolanda Narváez, Fedetaxi officer, explains that the frequencies used by cooperatives are the authorized by the National Ministry of telecommunications (Senatel),


“Unfortunately there are places where technical you hack the range radio frequency on any other computer and can be programmed a radio of any person who is not of the cooperative”. Therefore, they have started using other security measures. One of them is that customers receive a text message with a code with the unit number, the color of the vehicle, its model and its plates. In other services is even reported the name of the driver and his cell phone number. “In executive units, belonging to the Association there is high scrutiny at the moment of a career. We use satellite tracking , which records the time when the became the taxi stops, where up and down the passenger, including the price of the race. Also provides the user the information necessary to recognize the unit, information is sent by message or shown when he calls”explained Raúl Jiménez, Coordinator of the Ecuadorian Association of operators of taxi executives. This type of securities is much used in Guayaquil, where many cases of express kidnappings were reported. But now, this scheme is also applied in the capital. Although this type of abduction figures here are not such high (32 cases the 2013 and 6 between January and March this year), theft if concerned. In the Prosecutor’s Office, assaults like the one experienced in Armando V. are recorded as theft people. In 2013 were 8 551 in Quito. In the case of Armando V., two subjects that landed him, carried a submachine gun that threatened him. Although the intention was to make an express kidnapping, criminals took only his personal computer, which fell during the struggle. The Executive of 31 years was able to run and escape from the men, while the false taxi fled the scene. “Us has happened that they rob us races and even theft give or express kidnapping.” So if the people calling a cooperative must wait until the cab asked. My cooperative indicates the model, color and number of taxi so there is no confusion. In addition, leaders recommended we take care of your radio, because it is portable”, explained the taxi driver Ramiro Guanin. To commit these offences, criminal gangs steal radios from taxis, which gives you access to the frequencies of all the cooperative. Therefore, some companies perform constant monitoring to the frequencies and change them periodically, to prevent their signals to be pirated by anyone. “There is a problem of signal theft in all companies. This mainly occurs when a transmission equipment is stolen. “This situation companies return to calibrate the signal, so the suspects can no longer hear what is transmitted through the frequency”, explained Guanin. The news of Express kidnappings alerted users of taxis. Even, have been implemented in vehicles transportation insurance system, which consists of the installation of safety buttons and surveillance cameras, transmitting images to the ECU-911 integrated system permanently. According to figures from the national agency of transit (ANT), until last week 49 124 kits have had installed in taxis and buses in public transport across the country. Now, Armando V. take taxis which have all the permissions of operation and movement. And when you request an executive unit, ask cooperatives to send him message data driver and vehicle, allowing identification and not to be victim of these assaults. In context Taxi cooperatives implement more securities to avoid that their customers are docked by fake taxi drivers. This theft occurs when people call to ask for transport and the frequency is pirated by criminals who attack users. Read Article

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