One of the biggest issues that rideshare drivers face is imposters. These people come along in their cars, without an app, and without any screening and try to poach passengers. The biggest problem is that in most cases you don't know if their intentions are to just drive for cash or for exterior motives that could lead to criminal activity.
In one situation, on Sunday morning in Denver, the end was better then expected. An Uber customer, Arthur, landed at Denver International Airport and was expecting to be picked-up by his Uber requested driver but got into a car that identified himself as his Uber request.
Just as Arthur settled into the car and drove off, he received a message from his real Uber driver, Richard Rael claiming that he was waiting in the designated Uber/Lyft lot at DIA. The time was 9:15 am. Rael called Arthur to confirm the ride, and here is how the conversation went:
Rael: "Hello Arthur, this is Richard, your Uber driver. How are you today?"
Arthur: "Uh I'm doing well, um I just hopped into a different Uber, I'm sorry about that."
Rael: "Wait, wait for Arthur" –
Fake Uber Driver: "Hello? Hello? What are you doing?"
Rael: "Let me talk to Arthur."
Fake Uber Driver: "Can you please cancel the ride."
Fake Uber Driver: "We just left the terminal thank you so much."
The Fake Uber driver hung up the phone, and the panicked Rael called Arthur back.
Rael: "He's not a real Uber driver. He's a fake Uber driver."
Arthur: "So what should I do? I'm halfway down the road."
Rael: "Call the police. Have him pull over and get out of the car I will come get you."
Rael stayed on the line to be sure that Arthur was dropped off the safety, and he picked him up near Pena Boulevard.
Rael said that "It could have gone way south."
According to Rael, Arthur was visibly in shock and that "He didn't ask for the driver's name, probably didn't look at the app. He's probably in a rush – I need to get to my hotel. I'm tired I want to get there; Uber is right there."
There are two possible scenarios, one in which the fake driver will claim his "Uber app" is not working properly and ask for cash, or he could be a violent person and possibly mug his passenger, or worse. Another issue is that even if the fake Uber driver was only trying to poach some income, he has no insurance. Rael stated that "Just like any motor carrier, you steal my person. I have insurance on that person through Uber. That fake Uber driver doesn't have insurance, so if you get in an accident, you're screwed."
Rael's quick thinking and actions made Arthur highly appreciative, although Rael stated that "I wouldn't say I'm a good Samaritan. I'm just a safe driver that wants to get a rider home."
Denver police are investigating the instance, but due to weather conditions and snow on the license plate, it is hard to locate the vehicle.