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.

Rideshare Scam Artists

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.

Sometimes riders may find the Uber or Lyft decal to be convincing enough to assure them that their driver is legit. But, these imposters can go to great lengths to make their facade convincing enough to bait and lure their victims right into their hands.

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. Refer to the App

All rideshare companies use a smartphone app to let customers set up an account and request rides within their geographical area. These apps let riders know who their driver is and what type of car they drive. All legitimate rideshare drivers have to register their car and personal information through these apps as well.

This way they are able to provide a profile, car model info, license number and an actual photo for customers to determine who their driver really is.

  1. Names

Typically, an Uber or Lyft driver will ask for your name when they roll up to a pick-up spot. Authentic rideshare 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.

Major red flag if your Uber driver does not know your name when they pull up.

  1. Don’t rely on the sticker 

Like I mentioned before, some might find an Uber or Lyft decal on the windshield good enough for a %100 genuine rideshare driver. However, even the most bogus rideshare drivers are capable of forging an Uber or Lyft logo.

  1. Don’t get in

If they look nothing like the driver on the profile, if the car brand/model is different or if they happen to “forget” your name, don’t hop in. Even at the slightest suspicion, it’s better to trust your gut and to call for another Uber driver at a different location.

If the driver begins to harass you to get in, call the police.

Rideshare is Intended to Be Safe

The rideshare companies intend to make this revolutionary method of transportation a safe, cheap and easy way of getting around. They make sure their drivers have properly registered vehicles and a good background. By making their drivers provide information on their app profiles such as, name, license, car model, it makes it easy for customers to verify that their Uber or Lyft driver is authentic.

Although these companies try to make it as safe as possible, there are still some scenarios where even a fully registered driver might cause harm, attempt to scam or negligently injure passengers. If this is the case, passengers can speak to a an expert in rideshare claims to get help with incidents involving rideshare related frauds, injuries and accidents.