Scams to Avoid as an Uber or Lyft Driver: 2019 Edition

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Uber & Lyft Scam Alert 2019 Edition

As an Uber or Lyft driver, unfortunately you are bound to run into a passenger with the intent to game the system. It’s unavoidable. Here are six common scams still prevalent in 2019 and what you as a driver need to do in each situation to combat being taken advantage of. Let’s jump right into it.

Cancellation

During pool rides I have had people cancel the ride after I stopped to pick up an additional passenger. They request to be dropped off at the same spot where another passenger is getting in. By the time the new passenger enters the car and marked picked up the first rider exits and cancels. They assume that the driver is doing a pool ride and does not remember names, pick up locations, time of pick up and just scam the rideshare company and the driver. Because the driver cannot stop the pool ride and call Uber immediately, they think they fall through the cracks and get away with it. If this happens to you, make a quick voice recording note of the name, pick up location, drop-off location and time. When the pool ride is over, turn off the app and call Uber immediately.

Complaints

An agitated rider gets in and starts complaining about everything. You brace for the aftermath. He/she may go into great lengths to list the complaints against you and your service, none of them existing. Remain silent. After the drop-off turn the app off, call Uber, report the rider, always rate them 1 star and explain everything you heard and saw. It is 100% a scam that people employ to get a free ride and future ride credits. By investing 5 minutes of your time and reporting this kind of behavior you help eliminate these scammers from the market. Eventually Uber deactivates riders with multiple complaints.

Wrong number of Passengers

You get a ding. At the pick-up location there are 5 people and start pleading it is OK, they will be OK. Your car can only take maximum 4 passengers. They claim they’ll give you a better tip. Riders do this to avoid paying for multiple rides. If you decide to take this ride, you can get stopped by the police, get into an accident and cannot justify the situation and you can face deactivation. Do NOT take the ride. It’s not worth it to risk your livelihood (or part of) on a ride that may offer some extra cash or good vibes from your passenger.

Rides off the app

You are about to drop off someone. They tell you that they are going elsewhere in 3 minutes and if you would take them there off the app for cash. Do not do it. It is a safety issue. First, you have no idea where you are taking them, secondly, you do not know if they will pay you and third, no one knows where you are with a stranger.

Illegal Activities

Six months ago I had a Lyft ride and it seemed like it was not going to end. Every time we reached the destination the rider would have me change his destination to another address. The Lyft app allows for drivers to change the destination whereas the Uber app does not. As soon I stopped to type in the new destination he opened the car door, made an exchange with someone and then closed the door and we continued. We did three rides back to back like this. What do you think the exchanges may be? Who knows, don’t speculate but that is a scary way to give rides. If this occurs end the ride and ask the rider to exit the car politely. You never know if the exchanges take a bad turn.

Reversed pick-up and drop off

You get a ding for a 3 minute ride in a not so safe neighborhood. You show up at the “pick up” and someone tells you that this is the drop off for his friend who is waiting 4 blocks away. He/she also tells you they can ride with you to get their friend. This happened to me. This is a casing of you and your vehicle for a car jack. If you allow the person in your car, half way through the ride you get your car stolen. If this happens, cancel, leave and report it. It seems like an innocent error and it can be. Use your better judgement to gauge the situation.

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Fake accounts and fraudulent Uber rides

This you cannot help, people will always look for an edge to get free services. A con will create an account with stolen identities and credit cards. This compromises your safety but it is rare and if it does happen you will not know or prevent it.

Be safe, be careful, be aware and perhaps consider investing in a dashcam for some extra peace of mind. Happy driving!

Uber Support Scam and Account Switching

One of the more recent scams to target rideshare drivers is the “Support Call”. This scam has been in recent news and surprisingly stretches back to early 2018. Despite its lengthy run, there are still drivers who fall for this daily. The gist of the scam might seem elaborate at first, due in no small part to the vast level of security that both Uber and Lyft have provided drivers. For a scammer to access a rideshare driver’s funds they need an entire bevy of information including; the driver’s phone number, a two-factor authentication, and the driver’s debit card or bank information.

Uber and Lyft will never ask you for your personal information…

Let it be known that Uber and Lyft both expressly state that they will never ask you for said information. Yet, still, driver’s are falling for this scam over a year later than the initial news reports broke. The scammers are actually quite clever. They request a ride and then call the driver posing as an Uber Support Representative. The driver is asked to cancel the ride without a charge.  The scammer then claims that the ride was fraudulent and that Uber will be offering the driver a bonus for good service. Then the scammer asks the driver for their phone number, for verification, and their debit card information so that they can deposit the funds.

Isn’t this common sense?

It might seem like common sense to catch on, however, hundreds of drivers are falling victim to this earnings scam. Soon after getting off the phone the many drivers are experiencing a loss of funds in total. Some scammers have gotten more sophisticated asking for Uber login credentials and email addresses. The scam has appeared nationwide in hubs like New York, Chicago, Manchester, Houston, Tampa, Las Vegas, San Fransisco, as well as towns in New Jersey and Connecticut and abroad.

This scam has cost rideshare drivers millions of dollars in earnings over the past few years.

According to reports, there have been several rings convicted of scamming “millions of dollars” from rideshare drivers alone. This suggests that this most recent scam is one that is not only efficient but has the stamina to keep going indefinitely. Rideshare driver’s best defense against said scams is to remember that Uber and Lyft Support will never ask you for said information. Many drivers have complained across social media and various forums on the internet that Uber and Lyft are responsible. I would challenge these drivers to take a look in the mirror.

I know it sucks when you get scammed, but both Uber and Lyft have done their fair share, it’s up to drivers to be educated enough to avoid this type of scam. Why? Because really there is not much more Uber or Lyft can do when you give away all of your pertinent information after they’ve expressly stated that they don’t need it.

Have you ever been scammed as an Uber or Lyft driver? Share your experiences and help inform your fellow Uber driver. Comment below!

About the Author

Maria Feldman - Uber Driver ThingsMaria Feldman | Uber & Lyft
Maria Feldman is a contributor for Uber Driver Things. She drives nearly full-time for Uber and Lyft in Chicago area. According to Maria, earning a living as a driver and also collecting stories from her passengers is the best of both worlds.

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