Get Gephardt: Utah Uber driver warns of scam targeting drivers’ earnings

Oct 7, 2022, 6:52 AM | Updated: Oct 13, 2022, 12:33 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Uber drivers make a living taking passengers for a ride, but the call came to Get Gephardt from a Utah Uber driver who says a scammer tried to take him for a ride.

Jayce Watkins was driving for Uber last weekend when he got an alert that someone needed a ride. During his drive to the pickup point, Watkins got a call from someone claiming they were from Uber’s corporate office. The ride needed to be canceled because there was a problem.

“We had two have your passengers call in and complain that they were uncomfortable because you were not the person inside on the profile picture that was driving the vehicle,” said Watkins.

That is a serious allegation that could cost him his job. He needed to act quickly.

“We need to verify your account,” the caller told Watkins.

Let us pause there because to understand this next part, you must understand how Uber works. Everyone logs in using their personal cell phone numbers. But in order to protect both drivers and passengers, Uber does not share your number. Instead, an Uber phone number is assigned for the driver and passenger to communicate.

“You think, OK, this is legit,” Watkins said, “because it is coming from Uber.”

He gave the caller his personal phone number thinking he was verifying his identity. And a few seconds later, his phone received a text message with a six-digit code.

Uber driver loses week of earnings after ‘imposter scam’ call


“OK, for verification purposes, can you please give me the pin that was sent to your phone?” the caller said.

Luckily at that moment, Watkins got wise. He hung up, called Uber directly and learned it was a scam. Had he handed over that pin, the scammer would have had access to his Uber account and could have made off with all his earnings. Watkins hopes his experience will help other drivers avoid getting ripped off.

“You’re not thinking,” he said, “because you’re being threatened with deactivation.”

We reached out to Uber who said they have been targets of such imposter scams before, which evolve as Uber updates its security protocols. And they tout the importance of setting up two-factor authentication. Watkins had it set up, which prevented the scammer from getting into his account without that six-digit code.

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Get Gephardt: Utah Uber driver warns of scam targeting drivers’ earnings