Uber and Lyft Driver and Passenger Scams
This post will list some common scams that happens either on or off the rideshare platforms.
Lyftjacking or Uberjacking as defined by Lyft:
Lyft-Jacking is the unintentional mis-matching of drivers and passengers (i.e. when a passenger gets into the wrong Lyft). This is a problem because passengers could end up stranded, or paying for someone else’s Lyft, or both!
A random person who is not your passenger will get into the car, and just agree that they’re your passenger. If you been in a few Lyfts or Ubers, you can spot an uber or lyft in a split second so it’s not as hard as it seems. The random person will have to be opportunistic in that they have to get into a car that’s just waiting somewhere. It’s not so hard if you’re in a crowded bar area and just jump into a random car. Cancel the original request and have the new passenger request you. On Lyft it is a lot harder to do as there is the person’s picture on the Lyft request.
A random driver who is not your driver will lower the window and ask “Uber?” or “Lyft?” As a driver, it’s pretty easy to spot people waiting for their uber or lyft. To be honest, very few passengers are actually waiting out on the street as they usually request one a few minutes before they’re heading out. Then the driver will proceed to ask you to use a credit card or cash as they say something is off with the app. In a Lyft or Uber, you never have to take out a credit card. Everything is done through the app. If you hear anything like this, get out as that is not your car. On Lyft, you will hear a chime when the driver started the lyft. You may get some kind of notification on your app in an Uber.
Before getting into any car, always check that it is the correct car. If it is not the correct car, I would advise you not get into that car. Some drivers do not use the car listed on the app (it happens, either at the shop, or unavailable for some reason) and normally its fine, but it can be a safety risk. I believe Lyft or Uber will cover you as a passenger but there could be a chance that it’s not the correct driver altogether. If its not the right car, ask for the driver’s name.
Especially for my female passengers, I always say their name to make sure they know I’m the right driver.
There have been some incidents on the news involving people getting into cars that claim to be Uber, even though the person never used an app to request a ride. In most of these cases, they are not actually Uber drivers. In that case, never get into that car. You need to request an Uber or Lyft with your smartphone in order for that person to pick you up. Otherwise, you’re getting into a strangers car without any way to track it.
Surge Pricing Scam:
The passenger will request an uber right outside the surge zone and then call immediately to tell you where they really are. Most drivers know what the surge map looks like and you can check with your personal phone. I would cancel the ride as they’re just trying to get around the surge pricing
When you (the passenger) gets into the car, the driver will say how they pressed the wrong button and have you re-request the ride. Pay attention to your app and make sure either there is no surge pricing or its at a similar level as when you requested it. If you feel like there’s something going on, just leave the uber and request another.
Driver don’t end trip, passenger cancels trip during the ride
This has not happened to me, but the passenger can try to cancel the ride midway to try to have the end ride early. Some drivers don’t keep their phones in his view and if the phone volume is low, the passenger can get away with it. I would recommend all drivers to keep it in view but not on the windshield so other people or law enforcement can see it.
Make sure that you see the fare amount as soon as you get out or very quickly after you left the Uber/Lyft. If you didn’t, then the driver may have kept the drive going. There was once I forgot to turn it off but I only drove for another 10 seconds but some drivers do forget so make sure they end it on time. If not, then cancel the ride yourself and email support about it so they can adjust the ride accordingly.
Far Destination Scam
I have heard of this recently on the Northeast Driver Lounge. There was a person trying to get from Washington DC to NYC on a Lyft. Lyft only recommends a radius of 60 miles and its for this reason. The passenger could be using a fraudulent credit card and once he successfully gets a Lyft, the passenger will want to go very far, in this case NYC. Lyft recommends a radius to limit the impact of credit card fraud as Lyft will still pay the driver for their services even if the credit card payment doesn’t go through.
The passenger will request from outside the airport area but then call quickly to confirm that they are at the airport. This will get around any kind of location based lockout zones as they’re choosing another location. Drivers should be aware of where they can and cannot pick up. There are some California airports that both Uber and Lyft do not recommend picking people up at. If there is an airport surcharge, the customer will still be charged for it as it counts where you started the trip, not where the request was (unlike surge pricing).
The driver will say the airport fee needs to be paid in cash during the Uber Ride (for either drop off or pickup). Refuse. All fees and tolls are paid directly through the app. Anytime you need cash is if you want to tip your Uber Driver. Never swipe your credit card in an Uber or Lyft.
The driver may ask you to pay for tolls right there in cash in the car. Refuse. Everything is handled by the app so no need to use cash or your own credit card inside a Lyft or Uber. Heres why:
- Uber: Tolls get automatically charge to you during the ride in your fare. The driver automatically gets paid out (without the 20% fee) what the tolls nominally is (EZ-pass users may be able to get more as EZ-pass users often get discounts)
- Lyft: Lyft pays for all tolls. Fares are calculated only based on time and distance. The driver pays for the tolls and then gets reimbursed for it by Lyft after they submit their toll receipts or EZ-pass statement.
How to Prevent these Scams/Fraud:
- Make sure the driver matches the picture and the license plate matches.
- Read up on how Lyft and Uber works. If you are unsure, ride with someone who knows and have them explain the process. Some drivers can’t be trusted.
- Never pay with a C.C. or cash if driver says there’s issue with ride share app’s payment
- Never swipe your credit card in an Uber or Lyft. Everything is done through the app.
- Anytime you need cash is if you want to tip your Uber Driver. You can tip directly on the Lyft app, however.
- Monitor your account statements regularly & report any irregularities to your financial institution/card issuer asap. Sometimes Lyft or Uber can overcharge passengers.