Uber

Uber In Depth

Sections on this page
  1. Common Uber Scams
  2. How to Beat Uber Scams
  3. Reporting Uber Scams

Uber, the world's most popular ride-sharing platform, grew out of a simple idea—the ability to find a ride simply by tapping a button on your phone. Since its launch by entrepreneurs Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009, Uber has dominated the ride-sharing industry, taking in 68% of that business in the U.S. alone. Today, 93 million customers worldwide use the Uber app, and 3.5 million drivers serve these customers—which is probably why Uber scams have become so common.

While Uber is primarily known for its ride-sharing, in 2015, it introduced its restaurant food delivery app, known as Uber Eats. Uber Eats ranks as one of the most widely used food delivery apps.

The convenience of pressing a button and ordering a ride or your next meal appeals to more than just Uber's vast customer base. Unfortunately, it makes it easy for scammers to trick unsuspecting victims.

Common Uber Scams

Whether you use Uber or Uber Eats, these are the most common scams to look out for.

Driver's a No-Show

You order a ride through the Uber app and wait for the car to arrive, but it doesn't. So you're forced to cancel the ride, which causes you to incur cancellation fees. Later, you might be dismayed to find out that you were still charged for the ride that never arrived.

Driver Requesting Cash Payment

When you arrive at your destination, your driver will insist that you selected a cash payment. You may believe you chose this option accidentally and pay the driver in cash. However, you'll end up incurring a cancellation fee if the driver claims you canceled just before picking you up.

In another version of this scam, the driver mentions that the app is not working at the moment, and you'll need to pay cash. You pay the driver in cash but find out later that your credit card was charged anyway, resulting in a double charge.

Fraudulent Charges

In this scam, you find out a day or two after your ride that the driver is charging you for cleaning fees or damages you supposedly caused to the vehicle. Of course, you know that you didn't make a mess or damage the car, but it's the driver's word against yours, and you may be hit with an expensive bill.

Inflated Rates

During the ride, the driver will ask you for additional fees to cover some unexpected expenses. For example, sometimes they'll ask for you to pay for tolls, or they might also take a strange, longer route to increase fares. Or they might not end the ride when you exit the car, which means you'll continue to be charged for additional mileage that you didn't travel.

Uber Eats scams

In this scam involving the food delivery app, customers order food and the order appears to go through. However, the app doesn't update the order status, and eventually, the driver cancels the order. The customer ends up being charged for the order, but the driver takes off with the food.

Non-Uber Drivers

If you're waiting for an Uber ride at a common Uber pickup area, such as an airport, you might inadvertently get into the wrong car. Fake drivers know how easy it is to mistake one car for another when you're in a rush. Sometimes they'll ask you to cancel the Uber ride you booked and pay cash. Or the driver could have even more dangerous intentions that could threaten your life and safety.

Phishing Scams

You may receive emails that appear to originate from Uber requesting that you reset your password using a link. However, when you click the link, you'll end up on a malicious website set up by scammers. If you try to reset your password as directed, scammers will gain access to your account to score free rides. 

Uber Scams Targeting Drivers

Uber drivers can be unwitting victims of scams, too. In one of the most popular scams, Uber drivers receive a phone call that appears to come from the ride-sharing company, offering them a bonus for excellent driving services. The person on the phone asks questions about the driver's account and banking information so they can transfer the bonus money to the account.

Unfortunately, the bonus never shows up. Instead, the scammer logs into the driver's Uber account fraudulently and either steals the fares, or gains access to the bank account so they can make fraudulent charges.    

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How to Beat Uber Scams

As enjoyable and convenient as it can be to use Uber and Uber Eats, remember that you're ultimately dealing with a stranger. Awareness can help you get ahead of potential scams. Take these steps to avoid Uber and Uber Eats scams:

  • Make sure the face of the person picking you up matches the photo in the app.
  • Check the license plate, car make, and model to make sure it matches the vehicle information in the app.
  • Do not get in the car if the information or photo doesn't match the app details.
  • Ask the driver to confirm your name before you get in the car, as in, "Who are you here to pick up?"
  • Share your trip status in the app with a friend or family member, who will then be able to track your trip and estimated arrival time.
  • Do not pay outside of the app, even if a driver requests it—end the ride if necessary.
  • Confirm the fee and the destination when you enter the vehicle.
  • Avoid clicking on any links in emails requesting that you reset your Uber password.
  • Take photos of the vehicle's interior in case the driver claims you caused damages, so you can prove that you didn't.
  • Double-check that the app confirms the ride has ended when you leave the car.
  • If you need to change your password or other account details, do so directly via the Uber website or app.

Reporting Uber Scams

If you find yourself a victim of an Uber or Uber Eats scam, here's how you can attempt to recover your funds and report the activity.

Contact Details

Uber



Verified.org

Verified Contact Details

It's important to verify links and contact details to beat imposters.

Report Drivers to Uber

If you believe an Uber driver has acted unprofessionally or tried to scam you, you can report the driver directly to Uber. You can also contact Uber if you think you were unfairly charged a cancellation fee or incurred any other charges you believe are fraudulent.

Provide as much detail as possible explaining how the driver acted and why this violates Uber's policies. Since it's usually the driver's word against yours, you may need to follow up with additional emails and phone calls to plead your case.

Dispute Charges with Your Credit Card Company or Bank

If Uber refuses to refund fraudulent charges, your next step is to contact your financial institution. Explain the situation and ask for the charge(s) to be reviewed. Sometimes, they will return the funds if you have a strong enough argument for fraud. 

Contact the Police if Your Life is in Danger

It can be extremely unsettling to end up in a car with a driver who's pretending to work for Uber or with a driver who does work for Uber but has bad intentions. If you feel that you're in a dangerous situation, you can request to end the ride immediately.

Another option is to call 911 by tapping the Emergency Button located in your Uber app. When you call emergency services from the Uber app, the app provides you with your real-time location and trip details that you can share with the dispatcher.

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Guides To Protect Against Automotive & Transport Scams

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News About Automotive & Transport Scams

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