May 6, 2024
Auto Accident

Alabama recognized the importance of ridesharing in 2018 with the signing of the Ridesharing Law, which legalized ridesharing all across the state. However, as the popularity of ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft increases, the risk of fraud and fake drivers has also become an issue.

In 2019, a fake Uber driver in Tuscaloosa was arrested for kidnapping an unconscious University of Alabama student, after having previously done the same to two other passengers. If you get into a car with an illegitimate driver, it could threaten your safety.

In this post, we’ll share tips on how to identify fake rideshare drivers and keep yourself safe. In addition, if you were hurt in a rideshare accident, our Alabama rideshare lawyers at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers are ready to help with your case.

What We Mean By “Imposter Rideshare Drivers”

An imposter rideshare driver pretends to work for a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft but isn’t officially recognized by the company. They haven’t gone through the company’s verification or background check process, which helps ensure passenger safety.

These fake driers use various strategies to trick potential riders, including:

  • Driving vehicles commonly used by ridesharing drivers
  • Using app signage on the car, such as an Uber or Lyft sticker or sign
  • Waiting at passenger hotspots, like airports, train stations, event venues, and other busy or popular areas for rideshare passengers

Imposter drivers often take advantage of passengers in a rush, tired, or unfamiliar with the area. These riders are less likely to verify the driver’s details and information before climbing in, putting them at risk.

Once the ride begins, imposter drivers often pressure passengers for money or personal information, and many are willing to resort to threats or intimidation. They may drive aggressively, increasing the risk of an accident. In the worst cases, a fake driver may assault or harass riders using physical force. 

How to Verify Your Driver

Verifying your rideshare driver is the best way to avoid getting into the car with an imposter. The following steps can help you vet the person behind the wheel and verify their status with the rideshare company:

  • Check the Driver’s Details: Verify the driver’s information against what’s shown in your app, including comparing their photo from the app to their actual appearance and ensuring their name matches what you see listed.

  • Match the Vehicle Information: Ridesharing apps provide details about the driver’s car, such as make, model, color, and license plate number. Always check that the vehicle’s information matches the apps. If there’s any discrepancy, don’t enter the car.
  • Ask the Driver to Identify You: Legitimate drivers are aware of the names of their passengers because the app shows this information once they accept a ride. Before getting in, ask the driver to state your name. If they hesitate, claim they can’t see it, or make excuses about the app, there’s a chance they could be posing as a driver.

More Safety Tips for Uber and Lyft

If you think you’re dealing with an imposter driver, there are measures you can take for your safety. First, try not to enter the vehicle if possible. Next, notify the rideshare company about your concerns so they can look into it. But if you find yourself already in the car, consider the following advice:

  • Inform Friends and Family: Discreetly message people you trust and give them your location and trip details. If you’re in an Uber, turn on the Follow My Ride function, which automatically shares your trip details and real-time location with your friends and family.
  • Avoid Confrontations: If you suspect the driver is an imposter but aren’t in immediate danger, keep calm and don’t confront or threaten them; they may react unpredictably or violently.
  • Get the Driver to Stop the Ride Safely: If you feel unsafe, get the driver to stop and let you out by saying you feel sick or that you’re at your destination. If possible, ask them to stop in a public, well-lit area.
  • Report the Incident: Report the imposter driver to the rideshare company from the app, then call 911 and report the incident to local law enforcement. Include as many details as possible about the driver and their vehicle.
  • Speak With an Attorney: If you are hurt in a rideshare accident, whether with an imposter or a legitimate driver, talk to an attorney. Our team at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can review your case and help you seek compensation for your injuries through the driver’s insurance or the rideshare app.

Reach Out to The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers Today

The experienced rideshare accident lawyers at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of rideshare users. If you’ve been injured or incurred losses because of an imposter rideshare driver, get in touch with our team to explore your legal options in a free consultation.

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