Skip to main content

Don’t be duped by fake rideshare drivers, safety campaign urges

While the chances of something awful happening on your Uber or Lyft ride are small, the chances of something bad happening in a car that you thought was your ridesharing vehicle are likely to be somewhat higher.

In a bid to remind riders that getting into the correct vehicle is the first step to ensuring a safe ride, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has launched an awareness campaign highlighting a few simple steps every passenger should take before their journey begins.

Working with the city’s police department and Uber, which is headquartered in San Francisco, Gascon’s campaign advises riders to always verify the license plate number, color, make, and model of their rideshare car by checking it with the information shown in the app. If anything is amiss, don’t get in.

Secondly, it says you should always confirm your driver’s name, and make sure they know the name of the person they’re collecting — yes, that’s you. Another check worth making is that the driver matches the photo shown on your rideshare app.

Finally, the safety campaign strongly suggests that you always share details of your trip — including your pick-up location and destination — with a friend or member of your family.

“[Rideshare] services generally operate effectively, but they can be manipulated to attract unsuspecting victims,” Gascon said in a release. “Together, we can take steps to create a safer experience for a service so many rely on.”

An Uber spokesperson told Digital Trends it was excited to be working with the District Attorney’s office on the campaign, adding that while there are safety features in the Uber app, “they’ll only work if you are in the car that is assigned to you through the app. If someone is in the wrong car, they won’t know who their driver is and neither will Uber.”

Bogus rideshare drivers

Although rare, there have been a number of cases in the U.S. and beyond where passengers have been assaulted by individuals posing as rideshare drivers.

The bogus drivers often wait outside places in busy entertainment areas, with the unsuspecting passenger entering the vehicle believing it’s the ride they’ve booked.

Earlier this year, NBC News reporter Jeff Rossen posed as a fake Uber driver in Los Angeles to show how riders climb into cars without making the proper checks first. Numerous people who’d booked an Uber ride entered his car at various points throughout the evening, whereupon Rossen revealed the truth.

But ridesharing companies also have to deal with issues of trust and safety within their own services, with occasional rogue drivers at risk of giving a bad name to the vast majority of decent people who drive the vehicles.

To ensure peace of mind among passengers, ridesharing companies have gradually been adding safety features to their ridesharing apps. While ensuring the security of riders is vital if a ridesharing service is to succeed, Uber has pointed out in the past that in-car issues can also occur with riders being abusive to drivers.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Don’t let your cable company sell you a TV
X Class Xfinity TV

In a matter of weeks, Comcast is going to try to sell you a TV. I can understand if you might be tempted by the idea of no longer needing a cable box to get cable TV. But, I implore you: Don’t do it.

One exception: If you love your cable box -- and I mean if you really enjoy your cable box and its remote control and can’t imagine how you could ever watch TV without them -- then maybe go ahead and buy one of the TVs they’ll be hawking.

Read more
Don’t buy the Apple Watch Series 3 anymore — it’s not worth it

After Apple announced the long-awaited Apple Watch Series 7, you may have found your eyes, and especially your wallet, drawn to the idea of the Apple Watch Series 3 dropping its price to a downright affordable $199. While it won't have any of the features of the Series 7, like upgraded specs, improved battery life, a fancy new design, and a plethora of new features, it'll come in at $200 less, compared to the $399 Series 7. This may sound like a deal on its face. But we advise against falling for this ruse.

Here's why:
A design that hasn't aged well
First, put this timeline into perspective. Apple released the Series 3 in September 2017. The design back then didn't put it out of step with other smartwatches on the market. At release, we even praised it in our review as a "joy to use" and the "best smartwatch you can buy." That was true then, but in 2021 the design has started to show its age.

Read more
Please don’t let Insomniac turn into Marvel’s video game studio
Spider-Man attacks an enemy while wearing a metal spider suit in Spider-Man 2.

Sony's September PlayStation Showcase was one to remember ... or at least the last 10 minutes of it were. While the first 30 minutes of the digital show revolved around new trailers for upcoming games, the final stretch was more about grand reveals. In particular, Insomniac Games stole the show by delivering its two biggest surprises: A Venom-filled trailer for Spider-Man 2 and a shocking teaser for a Wolverine game.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 - PlayStation Showcase 2021: Reveal Trailer | PS5

Read more