If you didn’t call it with your phone, it’s definitely not an Uber. (And sometimes even then you have to be careful.)
Ride Share Drivers Don’t Recruit
Fake Uber scams have been increasing during the past year, especially in major cities around major airports and transportation hubs. Drivers will approach passengers at the curbs and claim to be Uber drivers or hold signs that say “Uber,” but the truth is that Uber drivers can only be hailed using your app. (They don’t recruit passengers the same way regular cab drivers do.)
Another red flag that you’re not actually talking to an Uber driver is whether they ask you for payment. They might have you tell them whether you’ll be paying with cash or with a card. Uber and Lyft drivers do not accept payment through any other means than the app. If an Uber driver asks you for external payment, he or she is not an Uber driver.
Some of these drivers may have clearance from the Taxi and Limousine commission that allows them to display certain licenses or drive certified black cars. They also might work part-time for Uber or Lyft, which allows them to display the signs in their windows. However, it is illegal for drivers to use Uber or Lyft to recruit passengers outside of the app. Be sure you are in control of your ride – otherwise, you may end up paying much more than you need to (or worse, find yourself in a dangerous situation).
Ride Share Drivers Can’t Charge You More for a Less-Than-Stellar Rating
It’s common knowledge among regular Uber users that both drivers and passengers are awarded ratings out of 5 stars for their behavior during rides. Unfortunately, accounts have surfaced of drivers asking for specific ratings they may not have deserved, and then charging the customer unfair and untrue surcharges if he or she does not comply with this requested rating.
Uber does not take kindly to this type of fraud. If you have an experience like this, you should report it to Uber immediately.
Ride Share Drivers Should Be Who They Say They Are
In any big city or town, it’s not hard to spot people loitering on sidewalks and street corners waiting for rides. This makes it very easy for random drivers to pull up to people on the sidewalk and say “Uber? Or “Lyft?” If you happen to be waiting for a ride from one of these apps, you might not see any reason to suspect foul play and simply get in the car.
It’s very important that when you hail an Uber, you double-check the make and model of the car that arrives as well as the profile of the driver. If it’s the wrong car, it’s better to play it safe than sorry. Don’t get in!
Other Ways to Stay Safe
Rideshare services are convenient, but they don’t come without their fair share of controversy and danger. It’s important to know how to protect yourself and stay vigilant while using this technology.
Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.