You might want to think twice before making your next request for a ride from Uber. During the past month, there have been two reported instances of unsuspecting women being kidnapped by phony Uber drivers, in what is becoming a dangerous phenomenon.
Police in Florida arrested Antonio D. Warren on August 30th after he picked up a college student at Tallahassee Community College outside of her dorm room. Warren claimed that he was a driver from Uber, but actually he had no ties to the company. Warren drove around before exposing himself and demanding sexual acts from the woman. The woman fled from his vehicle, but Warren proceeded to chase after her. He was able to inappropriately touch her before she escaped.
Another incident took place on September 8th, as a man disguised as an Uber driver attempted to pick up two female students outside of Texas Christian University. He informed the women that he was with Uber and that his intended fare had been cancelled, and he offered the women a ride. After the women entered his vehicle, the man began making offensive conversation, and he hugged one of the women before dropping her off. The man never requested payment for the ride, which led the women to believe that he was not actually an Uber driver.
The Uber app features some safeguards against this type of abuse. Upon requesting a ride, the driver’s image, license plate number, and car make and model are given to the user. Thus, the stranger becomes somewhat less of a stranger. However, abuses have been known to occur from certified Uber drivers as well. In some cases, sexual and/or physical assaults have occurred.
Younger women traveling alone are said to be most at risk for receiving such abuse. While Uber might be an ultra-convenient way of getting around, users should stay vigilant in order to prevent from becoming a victim.