PHOENIX, Ariz. — It’s a scam targeting Uber drivers, robbing them of their earnings.
Benjamin Beckham became an Uber driver to make some extra cash in his free time. He says the riders are “super nice people. They’re great to talk to and [he] loves the conversations [he] has.”
Just over a week on the job with Uber, Beckham says things got weird when he was picking up and dropping off riders in Downtown Phoenix. He said on that particular Saturday night he got a ride request, accepted it, and headed to the pick up just a few blocks away.
He says before he could reach the rider, he got a call from what he thought was Uber customer support.
“It sounded like a call center,” said Benjamin.
The caller on the phone told him the rider he was about to pick up needed to cancel their ride, but couldn’t do it themselves. So, the caller said Benjamin needed to do it for them. They then told him that he was going to get a week of free gas for the troubles.
In order to get the free gas, Beckham was told he needed to replace his bank account information with the one they were providing him with.
“As soon as he told me to replace my payment information, I was like wait this is how I get paid,” said Beckham.
If he had fallen for it, the scammers would have taken all of his earnings. Instead, Beckham tested the callers to ensure he was taking with Uber.
“I said okay great, what email address do you have on file and he hung up on me,” said Beckham.
After that call, Beckham got a hold of the real Uber customer support, who said they did not call him. They told Beckham they would not have contacted him in that kind of situation.
Uber sending the Let Joe Know team this statement:
Various flavors of this scam have been around for years. It’s not new, and we do see it less often than we used to.
We routinely help drivers reclaim their funds when they fall victim to scams like this, and they can contact our team through the 24/7 driver support line, in-app support, help.uber.com [help.uber.com] or in-person at a Greenlight Hub (Uber’s driver support center). There is a Greenlight Hub located in Tempe that serves the greater Phoenix area.
We have controls in place to protect against scams like this, including blocking certain types of account changes during a trip. As context, when our security systems detect a suspicious login, it automatically asks drivers for an authorization code, known as two-factor authentication. This prevents someone from getting into your account even if they have your password. Scammers try to get around this control by tricking drivers through social engineering via phone calls to trick them into giving away personal information about their Uber account. There is a good writeup of how this works here: therideshareguy.com/the-phishing-scam-that-steals-driver-pay-in-seconds [therideshareguy.com] Uber will never ask you for this information.
The FTC has been tracking these types of “imposter scams” for decades and our teams work closely with law enforcement to investigate scammers and bring them to justice. Last year we worked with the Department of Justice and Secret Service on a case that resulted in 13 arrests in NYC: justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/thirteen-defendants-charged-manhattan-federal-court-scheme-take-over-ride-sharing [justice.gov]
We routinely remind drivers of good security practices that can help them protect themselves via emails, newsletters and in the app. We also send drivers notifications when account information is changed such as password or payment method. If you ever get one of these alerts for a change you didn’t make, you should notify our team immediately.
You can find additional security recommendations for drivers here: uber.com/blog/5-tips-protecting-uber-account [uber.com] As for Beckham, he says he will continue driving like before.