Avoiding Uber Scams This Holiday Season

Office parties, family gatherings, special get-togethers with friends, and New Year’s Eve galas—‘tis the season of celebrations galore! It’s that time of year when the festivities, fun, and drinks flow freely. So RSVP and plan for a safe and sound ride home. With a tap of your smart phone, an Uber driver will get you from door-to-door safely. Uber is a transportation network in hundreds of cities worldwide that allows users to download an app, connect with a driver near them, and get a ride to their desired destination. For many people, Uber has become an alternative to taxi services. But be aware, some recent reports have warned of complaints ranging from non-Uber drivers picking up passengers and price hikes during peak times. Below, Justin Lavelle of PeopleLooker provides a few smart tips to help keep you safe and protected on your ride home:

11a11aStaying on Top of Common Uber Scams This Holiday Season

  • Always Use the Uber App. Remember there is no human interaction with Uber. Uber rides can only be requested through the Uber app, so never accept street solicitations from those claiming to be from Uber. The app is free and easy to download on your smart phone. If someone approaches you at an airport restaurant, or other location claiming to be Uber, tell them you’ve already reserved your ride.
  • Upfront Pricing and Unauthorized Charges. Uber uses something called “Upfront Pricing” that estimates the cost of your trip upfront and charges you for that amount. In many instances, the actual trip price and upfront price can be off by quite a bit and Uber pockets the overage. If you feel the difference is excessive, contact Uber support straight away. Also, Uber passengers have found additional charges to their account for trips they didn’t take. Always double check the amount charged to your credit card to confirm the amount is correct and to make sure the trips are valid.
  • Watch Out For Surge Pricing. Price increases often take place during major events like concerts, known closing times of bars and nightclubs, and holidays. While a quick ride at 2:00 on a Mondayafternoon might seem quite reasonable, if you try the same distance during a popular event, it’s very likely that you’ll end up paying several times the standard rate. Pay attention when reserving the ride or you may not even find out about the price increase until you receive your credit/debit card statement. 
  • Wait for Your Driver Inside. Uber recommends that all passengers wait indoors in a safe spot until the driver arrives. The app offers a notification of the driver’s arrival. This feature helps keep you safe and provides an extra layer of protection against being solicited by a non-Uber driver. 
  • Confirm Your Driver. Before getting into any car, always check that it is the correct car by confirming your driver’s car model, license plate, and name via the Uber app. 
  • Choose Backseat Riding. If you’re riding solo, opt to sit in the backseat. This ensures you have the choice of exiting either side of the car to avoid moving traffic. It will also give you some space from the driver.
  • Monitor Your Trip. While enroute to your destination, monitor the trip in your app and share your trip details with friends and family so they know where you are and when you’ve arrived safely to your destination.
  • Be Leary If Your Driver Tells You That He Accepts Credit Cards Or Cash. With Uber, you never need to carry cash. Fares are charged to your payment information that’s on file.
  • Do Not Share Personal Information. Do not share your personal information with your driver, such as telephone number or personal information. There is no reason the driver would need this information.
  • File a Complaint for Unsatisfactory Service. If you felt your trip was unsatisfactory due to such things as a rude driver, threatening behavior, or reckless driving, contact Uber support and file a complaint. If you have a valid grievance, they will usually give you a ride credit as a compensation within 24 hours.
  • An Additional Word Of Advice. Don’t disregard security precautions when creating and using online accounts and apps. For example, scammers might take pricey Uber rides in various locations that are then charged to your Uber account. In some cases, they even might invent fake Uber driver­ accounts and charge nonexistent rides—called ghost rides—to your account.

Justin Lavelle is Communications Director at PeopleLooker.com (https:// www.peoplelooker.com). PeopleLooker is the fast, affordable, and easy way to access public records and search for people. Find out ages, marital status, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, criminal records, and more. PeopleLooker is a popular tool for online daters who use the app to check the background of potential dates.