As Uber has grown, we’ve seen more and more crimes committed by its drivers. One of the most recent perils faced by the riding public is fake Uber cars.
How are Uber Cars Marked?
Uber cars are not required to have obvious external markings that identify them as such. Rather, they tend to have small, paper badges bearing the Uber logo plastered to the passenger side of the windshield. Those badges can be easily recreated by anyone.
This carelessness on Uber’s behalf directly puts the riding public in harm’s way, because it allows predators to impersonate drivers with remarkable ease.
Issues with Fake Uber Cars
An Opportunity for Sexual Predators
There have been numerous reports of impostors pulling up to popular locations where people frequently hail rides, such as airports, college campuses and bars. Usually, the phonies claim to be from Uber and ask who needs a ride, sometimes even offering free transportation to entice unsuspecting victims. Then, the worst happens: the innocent passengers are sexually assaulted.
Cars should be visibly marked to protect the young and vulnerable from predators. Sexual assault perpetrated by drivers for ride-hailing companies is all too common as it is. Riders shouldn’t have to worry about fake Uber drivers on top of that.
Scams on the Rise
Another problem is Uber impostors scamming unwary riders.
The scams are similar to the above: a driver shows up saying they’re from Uber to lure passengers into their car. They drive them to their destination, and, upon arrival, pull out a phone or tablet and with a fake version of the Uber app showing a ridiculously high charge. There is usually a credit card reader for the unsuspecting passenger to swipe their card and pay.
Take, for example, the couple who ended up being charged over $500 for a ride to their New Jersey home from JFK Airport by someone who was imitating an Uber driver. They weren’t able to receive their money back, even after disputing the charge with their credit card company.
The solution for combating crimes committed by fake Uber drivers is simple: the company make the cars easier for the riding public and law enforcement to identify.
However, despite acknowledging that phony rides are a huge issue, Uber hasn’t taken serious measures to rectify the situation. Rather, they published a page on fraudulent rides to their website. No real-world steps are being taken. This is hardly surprising coming from a company that’s unwilling to spend a few bucks on properly background checking their drivers.
It’s time to regulate ride-hailing app companies just like the rest of the ground transportation industry. The goal here is safety, yet Uber refuses to tweak their business model for the greater good of society.