When Fake Uber Drivers Assault Passengers
NBC’s Today Show recently ran a report about the trend of people pretending to be Uber drivers. Rossen makes a good point about something all Lyft and Uber passengers have likely done: you call an Uber, a car pulls up, the driver waves you over, and you just get inside. Most of the time, it is in fact the Uber you called. But, police are saying that there is an increasing trend of dangerous predators posing as Lyft or Uber drivers. The purpose of this article is to describe the problem and then provide some Lyft and Uber safety tips.
The Today Show report featured a young girl who was at a night club, wanted to leave, and hailed an Uber from her smartphone. She waited outside of the club where it seemed to be safe (plenty of people and plenty of cars). She explained that she was tired and eager to get home. The young lady then saw a car that, “seemed to be an Uber,” due to the way it was positioned (as if waiting for an Uber passenger).
The young lady then got into the back seat and the driver asked the address. When the fake Uber was on its way, she fell asleep. The lady woke up when the driver was banging her head against the back seat. Horrifically, the man who pretended to be an Uber driver, sexually assaulted its passenger for three hours.
Pretending to be a Lyft or Uber driver
The report indicated that the above-described incident is not an isolated one. Similar fake-uber assault reports have been popping up across the country.
Some of the fake-uber drivers are putting Uber decals on their dash board to make their car, upon passing glance, seem legitimate. One driver, posing as a Lyft driver, used this method to lure and eventually murder his victim.
Below are some tips that Uber, Lyft and law enforcement have assembled to help ensure a safe ride-sharing experience:
How Do I Avoid Fake Uber and Lyft Drivers?
As we mentioned, there have been multiple cases of fake Uber drivers who have put up false decals on their dashboards to give the impression that their car, upon passing glance, is legitimate. In one case, a driver posing as a Lyft driver used this method to lure and eventually murder his victim. While this is a horrific, worst-case scenario, it is still wise to use caution while using either Uber or Lyft apps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Uber Safety Tips
Uber, Lyft, and law enforcement have put together a number of tips to help ensure the safety of your ridesharing experience. First, become acquainted with the Uber and Lyft apps. There are built-in safety features that were created for riders to use in case of an emergency. The Lyft and Uber apps also allow ridesharing customers to verify certain information to ensure they are getting into the correct vehicle.
Verify the following information before entering a vehicle:
- License plate number
- Make and model of the Uber or Lyft car
- Photo of the driver
Uber or Lyft drivers are required to provide a photo, along with the license plate number and make and model of the car they are driving. This helps riders ensure they are getting into the correct vehicle. As a precaution, before getting into your Uber or Lyft, walk around to the rear of the vehicle to verify that the license plate number matches what is displayed on your app.
Additionally, before getting into any Uber or Lyft car, open the back door and do not get in. Rather, lean in and ask the driver who they are there to pick up. The key is to let the driver tell you your own name. While you are provided with your Uber driver’s information, they are also provided with some information about you. If they can easily say your name, it would be widely recognized as safe. However, if they are not a legitimate Uber driver, they will not know your name. Avoid saying your own name, as this will give them an easy way to just say yes, tricking you into thinking they are here for you.
Additional Rideshare Safety Tips
The majority of Uber and Lyft drivers are good people, looking to just earn an income and get you to your destination unharmed. There is a much higher chance of you being harmed in an Uber from a car accident than from a fake Uber driver. However, unfortunately, there are drivers who are able to pass background checks and still harm riders. If this is the case, we want to provide you with quality information on how to minimize your chances of encountering a fake driver.
Even if you have verified the make, model, and license plate of the Uber vehicle before entering, police recommend taking additional steps by photographing the back of the car (clearly capturing the make, model, and license) and sending it to a friend or loved one. This way, if anything does happen, there is a record.
You should also consider riding with friends if possible, and avoid traveling alone in Lyfts or Ubers. Furthermore, using a personal location tracking app on your phone and sharing your location with friends can be extremely beneficial. This way, your loved ones will know when you have arrived home safely, or, in worst-case scenarios, will be able to notify police if you have not shown up to where you said you would.
Uber Accident Lawyers
At Neufeld, Kleinberg, and Pinkiert, PA, we’re dedicated to protecting your rights and providing accurate information that helps keep riders safe while using Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company’s service. If you find yourself in need of an attorney with experience in Uber and other ridesharing incidents, contact us today for your free consultation to discuss your options.
Uber Assault Attorney Resources