Your Uber Driver May Be Using A Fake Account Created With A Stolen Identity

For years Uber and Lyft battled state and city regulators over their right to exist, and the rules they’d have to abide by. One of the major sticking points has been background checks. How do you know who your driver is, and for that matter whether their car is safe and insured?

Overall these companies have done well. Horror stories exist – as they do with taxis! – but are rare. Nonetheless the procedures they have in place are far from fool proof. In fact an extensive ridesharing driver fraud ring was operating but finally busted giving us the details of how people who couldn’t make the cut as drivers were picking up rides anyway.

Federal prosecutors describe a “nationwide scheme that used stolen identities to fool ride-hailing and delivery service companies into hiring unqualified drivers.” Four men have pled guilty out of 19 who were charged last year.

The scheme involved the use of stolen identities to set up fraudulent driver accounts with multiple ride-hailing and delivery companies, prosecutors said. Those accounts were then sold or rented to drivers who might not otherwise qualify for jobs with those services, including those who could not pass background checks or were ineligible to work in the U.S.

In some instances, driver’s license details were stolen from unsuspecting victims during the exchange of information following intentionally caused car accidents, according to court documents.

The scheme also employed the use of automated bots and GPS spoofing technology to increase the income earned from the fraudulent accounts, prosecutors said.

Each scammer would create fraudulent accounts using stolen identities, and then rent out the driver identities on social media generating hundreds of thousands of dollars. Three individuals charged in the scam remain at large.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What was the reason to omit the repeated occurrences of “Brazilian national” blasted throughout the linked article?

  2. Is this common? Probably not. Is this serious? Maybe, maybe not. I wouldn’t be surprised if some legitimate drivers were “subletting” their accounts to others. I’m not sure what, if anything, can be done about this.

  3. On our last Uber ride a few days ago, we received a 4 digit verification code which we had to give the driver before he would begin the trip. I’m wondering if this part of some new effort to reduce some sort of shenanigans..

  4. I’ve suspected this for quite some time. The drivers I have had in Fort Lauderdale are extremely sketchy yet they have perfect 5 star ratings? There is no way.

    I’m glad they finally are catching onto these crooks but I bet this is just scratching the surface.

  5. When living in Hawaii I felt like our drivers were often part of a shady business utilizing eastern european women. I seriously considered reporting human trafficking concerns but ultimately did nothing. Kind of hard to prove human trafficking when the individual is on their own driving a car around…guess that’s the reason things like this persist.

  6. That can’t be a thing because Uber makes you take a picture to verify your identity and you never know when they will do this.

  7. Why I will always use a legitimate licensed taxicab if I need this kind of service, and not these tech-bro ride hailing apps.

  8. For the first time ever I’ve decided to drive for Uber doing so they had issues with my account saying that I’ve had another account, and that I did 1233 rides in Orlando and reported to the IRS for tax purposes. I said that’s impossible I have never driven for Uber in my life this is the first time I’m trying this. I have no idea how this happened, my driver license, social security and everything that belongs to me was used by a driver that was not me and this driver rode over 1233 rides in Orlando. This is crazy . They are investigating and I need them to contact the IRS and also I’m going to the police .

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