As ridesharing services have grown in popularity over the years, so has the risk of ridesharing fraud. Most recently, scams involving fake Uber drivers have resulted in passengers paying extra fees or cash tolls not authorized by the company.

In extreme cases, fake drivers have also committed serious and even violent crimes against passengers. In 2022, a woman was sexually assaulted by a fake Uber driver who picked her up outside Miami airport after arriving from Salt Lake City. In 2019, a 21-year-old woman was killed by a fake Uber driver in South Carolina.

Knowing how to recognize imposter Uber drivers and report suspicious activity can save you from potential scams or physical harm.

Recognizing Red Flags

Legitimate ridesharing drivers are vetted and verified by the companies they work for, including criminal background checks and periodic reviews. They must use the Uber app to interact with customers, including ride requests, payments, and pick-up and drop-off locations.

Fake and imposter drivers don’t follow these guidelines, resulting in the following red flags and discrepancies you can look for to protect your safety:

  • Payment Demands: Uber handles payments through the app without requiring customers to pay drivers directly. It is likely a scam if the driver asks you to pay them in cash or another payment app like Cash App, Venmo, or PayPal.
  • Refusing to Use the App: If a driver avoids using the Uber app for directions, trip updates, or fare calculations, it might mean they’re trying to work outside of Uber’s oversight. This could compromise safety and ride tracking.
  • Suspicious Behavior: Any actions by a driver that violate Uber’s community guidelines, such as inappropriate remarks, unsolicited contact after a ride, or proposals to bypass standard procedures, are a serious concern and could indicate the company did not approve the driver.

Steps to Take to Verify Driver Identity

If you suspect your Uber driver might be illegitimate or an imposter, there are steps you can take to verify their legitimacy, such as:

  • Compare the driver’s name and photo in the app with the person driving the car.
  • Check the license plate number against what is listed in your app.
  • Confirm that the vehicle’s make, model, and color match the app’s details.
  • Ask the driver to confirm your name before entering the vehicle.
  • Review the driver’s rating and number of rides for additional verification.
  • Look for the Real-Time ID Check feature results, which ensure the driver’s identity matches the app’s records through periodic selfie verifications.

Trusting Your Instincts

Always trust your instincts when using a ride-share service, no matter the status of the Uber driver. If something doesn’t match the app’s information or the driver’s behavior is unsettling, listen to your gut feeling and try to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.

It’s best not to enter the vehicle if you feel hesitant. If you’re already in the car and feel unsafe, ask the driver to stop in a busy, well-lit area. If they refuse to let you out or the situation is an emergency, call 911 and request immediate assistance.

Use safety features within the Uber app, such as sharing your ride status with trusted contacts or accessing the emergency button to call for help. Always remember, it’s best to err on the side of caution and prioritize your safety above all else.

How to Report Suspicious Activity

If you believe your Uber driver is illegitimate or have concerns about your ride, report it to Uber and the authorities. Take the following steps:

  • End the Ride Safely: If you’re still in the vehicle and feel uncomfortable, ask the driver to stop in a safe, public location and exit the vehicle.
  • Use the Uber App: Go to the “Help” section in the menu, then select “Report an issue with this trip” to submit a report directly related to your ride.
  • Provide Details: Include as much information as possible, such as the driver’s name, vehicle details, license plate, and specifics about the behavior or situation that raised your concerns.
  • Take Screenshots: If applicable, take screenshots of your ride details in the app for documentation. Also, capture images of the driver, the vehicle, or any other circumstances that support your claim.
  • Contact Local Authorities: If you feel the situation is an immediate threat to your or the public’s safety, contact local law enforcement to report the incident.
  • Follow Up: If necessary, follow up with Uber for updates on the report and inquire about any actions taken in response to your feedback.
  • Work With an Attorney: If you’re injured in a crash while riding in an Uber or suffer an injury due to the driver’s actions, consult an attorney specializing in personal injury or rideshare incidents. Our team at Great West Injury Law can explain your rights and help you file a claim for compensation.

Demand Justice Now with Great West Injury Law

Don’t let fraudulent and imposter Uber drivers go unpunished for your losses and injuries. Let the experienced Utah personal injury lawyers at Great West Injury Law fight for you. We specialize in personal injury, including complex Uber cases, and we can ensure you’re compensated for your injuries and losses.

Take the first step toward holding them accountable. Reach out to Great West Injury Law for a free case evaluation today.