Rideshare drivers, beware of scammers. There are a lot of people out there who want to get a free ride from you, and they don’t care about your time or gas spent in serving them. They share stories with each other about how to scam us: don’t let them take advantage of you. Being aware is half the battle, and being proactive when it happens to you will minimize the inconvenience it causes.
Last night, after an Uber POOL ride in which I had two passengers, I was notified that my fare was adjusted, taking 90% of it from me, because one of them claimed I picked up the wrong person.
Make them tell you the name on the account, don’t say it yourself
This is when it is important to follow a cardinal rule of ridesharing. When your passenger opens the door, ask them what the name is. If they can not give you the name on your screen (don’t let them see it!) then do not take that person for a ride. The name on the screen might not be the name of the individual you’re transporting, but the passenger should know the name of the account holder.
Try to spark conversation, details may be important later
Engaging with your clientele is more than just friendly: It can be self-preservation. The passenger I had last night was almost silent until the first person was dropped off at his destination, and then he was very talkative – all the way to the destination set in the app by him.
He told me where he worked, among other things, and while some of it may have been lies, I’m pretty sure he told the truth about that one because when I asked him where he worked, the question caught him off guard.
The point is, I confronted Uber about the situation, and asked, “if I had the wrong passenger, why did he get out at the destination the app sent me to?” which would make no sense if it was the wrong person. It is very unlikely that someone other than the person who had control of the app – or his colleague/friend/relative – took that ride.
While it is possible that someone was illicitly using someone else’s phone or credentials to take that ride, I can not be held responsible and should therefore not be penalized for that, because as a driver I would have no way of knowing or proving it. Furthermore, questioning someone who is involved in identity theft or related activities could actually endanger my safety. I’m not a cop, so I’m neither equipped nor authorized to interrogate anyone.
Ultimately, I got on the phone with Uber, and after confirming that this guy had a pattern of such behavior, they restored my fare to me. What I wonder, however, is whether they did the same for the other drivers who got scammed.. Some of those other drivers probably tried to fight it and failed – especially early on, when he’d only done it once or twice. I told Uber in no uncertain terms that if my fare was not restored, I would not drive for them again… and I meant it.
To read about more similar scams and pitfalls, check out this article from The Rideshare Guy (whom I highly recommend subscribing to!). It is a few years old, but still surprisingly relevant. Top 10 Ways That Uber and Lyft Passengers Are Gaming The System (And How To Prevent It).
I do not receive compensation for recommending The Rideshare Guy. Anything you purchase from or through him does not affect or benefit me and is not affiliated with MizLydia.com in any way.
Are you a rideshare driver? Have you had passengers scam the system and cost you some of your hard-earned money? Please tell me about it in the comments below.