A few days ago, the family of the South Carolina college student and rideshare victim, Samantha Josephson, spoke about the punishment of a posing rideshare driver who faces charges of kidnapping and murdering their daughter.
Fortunately, some of us may not have experienced an interaction with these “fake Uber drivers”. Many of us may not have even been consciously aware that predators are disguising themselves as rideshare drivers to prey on unsuspecting victims.
There have already been countless reports of phony drivers either scamming, robbing and or harming passengers looking for a safe trip.
In 2016, Mount Prospect police investigated several incidents reported by Uber riders that a man had been posing as an Uber driver in order to scam passengers with credit card fraud. Many riders had reported large amounts of money missing from their bank accounts moments after their rides were completed.
More recently, in 2018, a women reported that she was robbed by a fake Uber driver at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta. During the chaos of airport arrival traffic, the woman unsuspectedly hopped in the car of a posing Uber driver with her expensive luggage. Later, they both decided to make a stop at a grocery store. When the woman went into the grocery store, the driver took off with over $10,000 of luggage.
Imposters will go to great lengths to make their facade convincing enough to bait and lure their victims right into their hands, so it’s important you know what to look out for.
How to Spot a Phony Rideshare Driver
For the next Uber ride you hail, keep these 4 effective tips in mind to determine whether you rideshare driver is fake or real.
1. Match the vehicle information in the app with the vehicle picking you up
All rideshare companies use a smartphone app to let customers set up an account and request rides. Inside the app, you can find all the information on the vehicle picking you up. This includes the car make and model, vehicle color and license plate number. If the vehicle attempting to pick you up does not match the information in the app, don’t get in. It is probably an imposter.
2. Ensure the photo in the app is the same person picking you up
In the app, you see a picture of the driver picking you up. If the driver attempting to pick you up is not the same person that you see in the app, it may be a fake rideshare driver. Do not get in the vehicle.
3. Make sure the Driver Knows Your Name
Typically, an Uber or Lyft driver will ask for your name when they roll up to a pick-up spot. Real Uber or Lyft drivers are given information about the person they are picking up when customers request a ride. It’s all regulated by the company’s app. It’s a major red flag if your Uber driver does not know your name when they pull up. If they don’t know your name, don’t get in the car
4. Don’t simply trust they are an actual driver just because they have an Uber/Lyft decal
Simply having an Uber or Lyft decal on the windshield does not guarantee that the driver works for Uber or Lyft. If someone is attempting to fool people into thinking they are an Uber of Lyft driver, it wouldn’t be that hard to find logos and stick them on a windshield. It’s not that hard to print your own logos or find some online that you can buy
What if it’s an actual driver, but you don’t feel safe about getting in the vehicle?
If your gut tells you not to get it, don’t get in. Even actual drivers sometimes drive drunk and cause accidents. There have been thousands of Uber and Lyft accidents in the last few years. By the way, if you are in an accident while riding in an Uber of Lyft, make sure to contact an Uber accident attorney who can help you and explain what your rights are. Aside from car accidents, there are hundreds of stories of rapes and sexual assaults by Uber and Lyft drivers all over the country. The truth is Uber and Lyft do not conduct thorough background checks and as a result they employ many sexual predators. Have we got you scare a little bit? Good, because we want you to take all the precautions you can before you get into your next rideshare so that you can stay safe.