Fake Uber drivers are not a new phenomenon. The ride-hailing app has a long history of safety concerns when people set up Uber driver accounts in someone else's name. Passengers have been robbed and sexually assaulted by both real and fake Uber drivers. Passengers injured in an accident may find that their driver was not an authorized driver and did not have car insurance.
How can you protect yourself if you want an Uber ride and need help? If you were injured in a car accident involving an Uber driver, contact an experienced Denver accident lawyer to make sure you get compensation.
Fraudulent Ride-Hailing Driver Accounts
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, 19 people were charged with conspiracy to open fraudulent driver accounts. “Nineteen Brazilian nationals were charged today with engaging in a nationwide conspiracy to set up fraudulent driver accounts with multiple rideshare and delivery service companies using stolen identities, and to rent or sell those accounts to drivers who might not otherwise qualify to drive for those services.”
The report indicates delivery divers would steal customers' identities and use their identities to set up fraudulent accounts, even getting bonuses for referrals for those fake accounts. Drivers who would not otherwise qualify or could not pass a background check could buy or rent these fake accounts to deliver food to peoples' homes and pick up passengers looking for a ride.
At least 5 different rideshare companies and delivery app companies were involved in the fraud. Most of the defendants were in Massachusetts, with others in Florida and California. The perpetrators are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A conviction could result in to up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each individual.
For example, even if the speed limit on a road is 50 miles per hour, driving at that speed may be considered negligent in dangerous conditions, like icy roads, heavy snow, dense fog, or heavy rain. Drivers have a duty to drive like a reasonable driver would in the given conditions. If the driver thinks they can drive safely but a “reasonable person” would not, then the driver may be considered negligent if they cause an accident.
Extent of Uber and Lyft Driver Fraud
It is unclear how widespread the fraudulent driver accounts extend. Uber and Lyft are very secretive about their business and have refused to turn over information to government agencies on multiple occasions. In 2019, the City of London refused to grant Uber a new license to operate in the city because of security and safety risks.
According to a press release from Transportation for London: “A key issue identified was that a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver, which occurred in at least 14,000 trips - putting passenger safety and security at risk.”
In general, passengers have very few options to confirm their driver is actually the person on the account. Even if the driver is the registered driver, the criminal background checks used by Uber have missed some major red flags, including drivers convicted of second-degree murder and driving under the influence (DUI).
An injury accident can cost the victim thousands of dollars in vehicle repairs, hospital bills, and lost wages. Contact our Denver accident attorneys to fight for your rights recover the full compensation available.