5 Most Common Uber Passenger Scams For Drivers [2021]

As an Uber driver, you need to be aware of some of the ways that passengers might try to scam you. We cover the most common ones.

Passenger Scams

Ride-sharing applications like Uber have made it convenient and affordable to get around. Uber currently operates in more than 10,000 cities around the world. And this popularity has brought out various scams targeted at drivers and riders alike.

So to ensure the safety of both parties, Uber has several safety features built into the app. For drivers, these features include an emergency button, Follow My Ride, phone anonymization, and RideCheck. However, both parties still find ways to cheat the system, resulting in occasional scams.

In this article, we’ll address common ride-sharing scams you may experience as an Uber driver and how you can avoid them.

Phone Call From Uber

Phishing is a threat to all companies across the globe, and Uber is no exception. You may be thinking, “but I have two-factor authentication.” Yes, but fraudsters can still steal your information and gain access to your Uber account by pretending to be Uber representatives.

The scam

You receive a trip request, which you accept. But on your way to the pickup location, you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Uber. The person asks you to pull over and cancel the ride for whatever reason, but that you’ll still get paid for the ride. The caller may tell you the rider who requested the trip is disabled and requires a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

After canceling the trip, the “Uber representative” will ask you to confirm your email address, Uber account password, and the verification code sent via text. Once you’ve given out your personal and Uber account details, the scammer can change your account settings and withdraw your hard-earned money at the opportune time.

How to protect yourself

Just remember, Uber will never call, text, or email you asking for your account password, SMS code, social security number, debit/credit card information, or other personal information. So if someone contacts you asking for said details, pay them no mind.

Ride Canceling Mid Trip

Passengers have devised various ways to get free Uber rides. And canceling a ride before arriving at the drop-off location is one of them.

The scam

You accept a ride request, pick up the passenger, but they cancel the ride while en route to the destination. The passenger does this so as not to pay the total amount or any amount for that matter. The scam relies on your not noticing that the rider has canceled the trip until you arrive at the drop-off point. So the passenger gets a free ride or pays much less than they should have for the ride. Either way, it’s a loss on your end.

How to protect yourself

Your eyes should always be on the road and your hands on the wheel when driving for safety reasons. But you also want to be timely notified of any trip changes, such as cancellations. So what can you do? Consider adjusting the app volume to the loud setting, turning on announce trip alerts, and/or connecting your phone to your car via Bluetooth so that you don’t miss any notifications when driving. If you hear a ride cancellation alert, pull over and ask the rider to alight.

Fake Prizes

Yet another phishing scam from individuals claiming to be Uber employees, but instead of asking you to cancel the ride, they tell you you’ve won a prize.

The scam

You get a call notifying you that you’ve won a prize for maintaining a high star rating, having zero or few ride cancellations on your end, completing a certain number of rides, among other reasons. The scammer will then ask for your email address, password, and SMS verification code so they can deposit the prize in your account. After successfully duping you into disclosing your account information, the caller changes your bank account information to theirs and transfers your earnings.

How to protect yourself

Uber does support its drivers by giving them rewards such as discounts on gas, vehicle maintenance, phone plans, and financial management. But it does so through their Driving Rewards Program, and you can view your available rewards in your app. Therefore do not entertain calls from anyone claiming to be Uber Support, asking for your account and personal details in exchange for a prize.

Say My Name

People will do anything for a free ride, including taking someone else’s ride.

The scam

You arrive at the pickup location, someone approaches your vehicle and asks you to say their name. You oblige, the person says it’s them, they get into your car, and you start the trip. Once you arrive at the destination, the scammer thanks you and gets out. And only then do you notice the message from your actual passenger, asking where you are. But by then, it’s too late as the scammer has already gotten a free ride from you.

How to protect yourself

Lock your doors before picking up a passenger. And have the individual that walks to your car confirm their name first before telling them yours. If the person insists that you say their name or refuses to give their name, consider it a red flag and don’t let them in your vehicle.

False Complaints

Another way some malicious passengers get free rides or refunds is by making false claims about Uber drivers.

The scam

You’ve finished a trip without incident and even gotten paid, but Uber later informs you that they’re investigating you because of a claim made by the passenger. It could be that they falsely accused you of driving recklessly, driving while intoxicated, discriminating against them based on race or religion, or having a dirty car interior. As a result, Uber could suspend or deactivate your account and all because someone wanted a free ride.

How to protect yourself

The time it takes to investigate a bogus accusation and clear your name could cost you hundreds of dollars or more in lost earnings. So the goal is to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Installing a dashcam that continuously records activity inside your car and that has cloud-connected storage is the best way to go. You can use the dashcam footage to fight false claims, ensuring you can get back to work as soon as possible in case Uber had already put your account on hold.

Bottom Line

Even with safety measures put in place by Uber to protect drivers from rider fraud, scammers will still find ways to exploit the system and steal your money. Watch out for the scams we’ve discussed in this article, and when in doubt, contact Uber Support through your Driver app.

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