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Get in the right car, know these safety tips before hopping in an Uber or Lyft

Get in the right car, know these safety tips before hopping in an Uber or Lyft
Odua | Dreamstime.com

Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft have been around for many years now. As these services have grown, so have numerous concerns.

There have been issues in the past year with hidden cameras live-streaming customers, logging every location you've visited, failures of self-driving cars, and data breaches.

But they also have benefits such as being a driver to make extra money and hailing a ride with a simple app request.

As these ride-sharing companies have become conventional, some deadly incidents are beginning to surface with fake ride-sharing drivers. In this article, we'll show you how to avoid a fake ride-sharing driver and stay safe.

When fake Uber or Lyft drivers attack

Attacks that turn innocent mix-ups into fearful situations have gotten more common in recent years. These bad actors can easily exploit vulnerabilities of the ride-sharing culture that many people trust to get home safely.

Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old college student in South Carolina, was unfortunately stabbed to death after getting into what she thought was her Uber ride recently. Due to this heinous crime, it has brought national attention to the growing number of kidnappings, sexual assaults and robberies being committed against primarily young women by criminals posing as ride-share drivers.

Now, ride-sharing companies are being forced to address safety concerns being led by legislative proposals and public efforts to reduce future attacks.

These fraudulent drivers troll nightclubs and bars late at night to find people looking in the dark for their ride, according to law enforcement reports. They get the passengers' attention with a wave and saying things like, "I’m your driver." Some even go as far as to hang ride-share decals in their windows for added legitimacy.

How to stay safe in ride-shares

There have been several cases of people posing as drivers, but both Uber and Lyft offer passengers details such as the driver’s name, their photo and car type.

Some Lyft drivers have an additional method, featuring a bright color-changing pill-shaped device, called an Amp. It's made of multiple LED lights on your driver’s dashboard, which should match the color in your Lyft app.

Here we'll run down a list of various safety tips for passengers when using a ride-share service.

  1. Confirm the driver information
    • Check the name of the driver, driver photo, make and model of the vehicle, license plate and match with the app
    • Also, ask them who they are picking up to make sure it's you
  2. Check the driver’s rating
    • If you're not comfortable with their rating, request another driver
  3. Share your trip details with friends or family 
    • While en route, tap the “share status” in the app to share your driver’s information and location so they can track your trip and see your ETA without downloading the app
  4. Avoid riding in the front seat
    • If you're riding alone, this allows you easy access to exits on either side of the vehicle
  5. Follow along in your own maps app
    • This allows you to make sure the driver is following the designated route
  6. Travel in groups when possible
    • There's something to say for traveling in numbers for safety's sake
  7. Trust your gut
    • Trust your instincts when riding with Uber or Lyft and if you ever feel you’re in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately
  8. Plan ahead before you request a ride
    • Make sure you know your route, how long it should take and any other information before you request a ride
  9. Review the safety features in the app so you know how to use them
    • You should familiarize yourself with the app so you can readily know how to navigate it in an emergency
  10. Request your ride inside
    • Avoid spending unnecessary time outside alone with your phone in your hand, and wait indoors when possible until the app shows your driver has arrived
  11. Protect your personal information
    • No need to share your phone number or any other contact information with your driver
    • If a passenger and driver need to contact each other, the apps automatically anonymize both phone numbers to protect everyone’s privacy
  12. Give feedback on your trip
    • Your feedback helps improve the experience for everyone

There's a lot to consider when you're looking to ride-share, safety above everything else should be number one.

Keeping informed of your ride and driver information can help in getting in the correct vehicle. As incidents continue to occur, we can expect that these ride-share services will create stricter guidelines for those looking for rides and those looking to give them as a service.

If you forget something in an Uber, the good news is: you can get it back. But are you curious what people leave behind? Kim looked into it and shares some very strange things people left in their Uber ride.

Don't be a victim of expected Uber phishing scams

Whenever there is a highly publicized data breach like the one at Uber, we need to be on the lookout for separate attacks. That's because criminals will piggyback on the news to create more scams. Tap or click for more info.

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