If You're Offered This at the Airport, Just Say No, Experts Warn
It may seem like a good idea, but experts say it could pose a major risk.
Even intrepid travelers can find navigating the airport more than a little stressful. From waiting on seemingly endless security lines to finding ways to occupy your time when your flight is delayed, there are numerous obstacles you're likely to encounter at the airport that can make your vacation less than relaxing before you even arrive at your destination. Now, experts say there's yet another surprising problem you may encounter at the airport the next time you travel—and if you're offered this one thing, "no" is the only right answer. Read on to discover what experts are warning travelers against and how to protect yourself.
Never accept an unsolicited Uber Shuttle ride at the airport.
According to a November 2021 post to Reddit, scammers are allegedly posing as Uber Shuttle drivers at airports in the New York City area. In the case of this scam, the fake Uber drivers will supposedly offer Uber Shuttle rides to passengers leaving an airport, telling them that they will drive them to the airport's designated Uber pickup location. This may mean that the customer ends up alone with someone who is not a legitimate Uber driver (the company's drivers have to undergo background checks), potentially putting their safety at risk.
Best Life has reached out to Uber for more information on the alleged scam. This post will be updated if and when the company responds.
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This isn't the first time the company's had a problem with fake drivers.
Given Uber's popularity, it's not surprising that unscrupulous individuals are trying to get a slice of the company's business—or simply trying to make a buck off the rideshare company's customers.
In 2016, Uber New York general manager Jay Mohrer issued a complaint letter about the prevalence of fake Uber drivers to New York's Port Authority, which oversees many of the transit hubs throughout New York, including airports, bridges, seaports, and tunnels. "In recent weeks, the conditions at the terminal have noticeably worsened and have reached crisis levels…In response to feedback from our riders and drivers, we are writing to request that the Port Authority Police Department review the problem of illegal solicitations at the airports," said Mohrer (via CBS 2).
Make sure that your driver's information matches the app.
If you want to ensure that you're getting in the right vehicle, the app has built-in safeguards to help protect customers.
When you are connected with a driver, you will be provided a photo of said driver, as well as their license plate information and the model of the car they'll be picking you up in. You will also be given information regarding the pick-up point for your ride, which you can confirm with the driver through the app—a good idea if someone is telling you to go elsewhere to meet your driver. When in doubt, you can always report safety issues—including individuals posing as Uber drivers—to the rideshare company through the Uber help page.
Uber drivers will not solicit rides in person.
While users can access Uber rides even if they don't have a smartphone, either by using the service's website or by having a registered user hire a ride for them, legitimate Uber drivers should not be offering unsolicited rides.
"Our technology platform is used to connect riders and drivers through our lead generation software. Any solicitation independent from the app is strictly prohibited. We communicate this to all driver partners," Uber spokesperson Taylor Bennett told WAMU 88.5 amid a crackdown on illegal street hails in Washington D.C.