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:
Lyft and Uber Safety Tips
First, become acquainted with your Uber app. There are some safety features already built into the Uber and Lyft apps for you to use. The following information should first be verified by all ridesharing customers to ensure that they are getting into the correct vehicle:
When you hail an Uber or Lyft, both apps provide you with a picture of the driver. In addition, they give you the make and model of the car coming to pick you up – along with the Lyft or Uber’s license plate number. I always get the license plate number and walk to the rear of the vehicle to verify the license plate matches what is displayed on my app.
I love the following tip: Before getting into any Lyft or Uber – open the back door and do not get in. Rather, lean in, and ask the driver who they are here to pick up. The key is to let the driver tell you your own name. Using myself as an example: my name is Jason. I would not just get into the back seat and say: “are you here to pick up Jason?” An Uber or Lyft driver intent on doing harm, would, of course just say yes.
Instead, I would just open the back door and before getting in, I would ask, “who are you here to pick up?” I would only proceed to get into the Uber once the driver replied with my correct name.
If your Lyft/Uber driver intends on doing harm
Before I get into this, let’s take a step back for a second. The vast majority of Lyft and Uber drivers, of course, are good people who just want to earn an income and get you to your destination unharmed. You are much, MUCH, more likely to be harmed due to your Uber driver being involved in a car accident. So, perhaps the most important safety tip is to wear your seat belt and make sure your Uber driver is not behaving erratically or appear to be drunk.
That being said, unfortunately, there are Lyft and Uber drivers who get through the ride-sharing background check process and still do harm. I discuss some of these sad stories in prior articles that are linked to in the resource section below. If an Uber driver intends on doing harm, we want to minimize the damage they can do and make sure that it’s possible to send help to assist you right away.
Even though you may have already verified the make, model and license plate of the Uber vehicle before entering, police recommend taking an additional step of photographing the back of the car (capturing the make, model and license plate), and texting it to a friend or loved one, so that if anything bad does happen, there is a record.
In addition, Lyft and Uber apps both have links that easily allow you to share your ride progress with friends or family – use this as your personal homing device because it literally allows other people track your whereabouts. So, if you fail to show up on time, someone can be concerned and if necessary notify the police.
Please utilize the Uber safety tips described above and ride safely.
Uber Assault Attorney Resources