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Fake Uber Drivers Lurk at Airports

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Summon an Uber or a Lyft car from the airport, and you could get taken for a ride in more ways than one if you’re not careful. Scammers posing as drivers for these ride-share services sometimes trick airport travelers into their vehicles. Victims might be charged exorbitant rates for the resulting rides…or they could be at physical risk.

In one version of this scam, a driver pulls up to an airport terminal and asks, “Who booked an Uber?” until he finds someone who has. This scammer has an excuse ready if the passenger notices that the car is not the one he/she was told to expect—he might say that the original car broke down, for example. During the trip, the driver asks for the passenger’s credit card and has an explanation prepared if the passenger protests that his payment info is on file—he could claim that the processing system is temporarily down.

In a variation, a scammer standing in or near the terminal claims to be an Uber or a Lyft dispatcher. He directs victims to accomplices posing as ride-share drivers.

These scams could happen anywhere, but they seem to be most common at airports because so many people call for rides there.

What to do: When you request a ride from Uber or Lyft and are matched with a driver, your smartphone app provides details including the driver’s name and photo…the make and model of vehicle…and the license-plate number. Confirm that both car and driver match the information provided before getting in. Also ask ride-share drivers, “Who are you here to pick up?” and don’t get into the car if the driver cannot supply your name (or the name of the person whose ride-share account was used to request the ride).

Never trust anyone who claims to be an on-site Uber or Lyft “dispatcher”—these services never use on-site dispatchers. And never give your credit card or any other payment to an Uber or a Lyft driver—there is no legitimate reason for them to request this.

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Source: Detective Sergeant Kevin Coffey, who recently retired from the Los Angeles Police Department after 35 years of service. He founded the LAPD’s Airport Crimes Investigations Detail and currently is a travel-risk consultant and trainer. CorporateTravelSafety.com Date: December 15, 2016 Publication: Bottom Line Personal
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