(WSVN) - Rideshare apps like Uber are used all the time, and many drivers are getting behind the wheel to help pay their bills. But when one South Florida woman tried to sign up, she got a startling surprise.
7’s Karen Hensel investigates.
The holiday season is right around the corner. It has people like Teresa Dotson looking for ways to make some extra money.
Teresa Dotson/identity stolen: “Because at my job, I’m a server and I was like, ‘You know, let me make some extra cash.'”
Last month, she signed up to be a driver on Uber.com.
Teresa Dotson: “You put in your driver’s license and your date of birth. They had you to put in your maiden name, all that information.”
That’s as far as she got because her account was immediately locked.
Teresa Dotson: “That’s when I called support and support actually was the one who discovered that I had multiple accounts with them. I told them that I never signed up for Uber, and then they discovered that I apparently was a driver in California and also Atlanta, Georgia.”
Both driver accounts listed Teresa’s personal information.
Teresa Dotson: “It’s scary because someone is using my information.”
Teresa isn’t alone.
There are stories from across the country of people who discovered their personal information had been used by someone else to register as a rideshare driver.
Eva Velasquez/Identity Theft Resource Center: “Well, we’re hearing more about it. We’ve got cases coming into the contact center.”
Eva Velasquez is the CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center.
She says this type of identity theft is usually the result of stolen driver’s license information.
Eva Velasquez: “There are even videos, not even on the dark web, they’re on Youtube, showing people who are like, ‘Stole all this mail, here are the drivers licenses for sale,’ and unbeknownst to the person who that’s their legitimate license, they don’t even know that this is going on.”
Thieves can use those stolen details to assume a person’s identity in order to pass background checks.
Eva Velasquez: “And it’s not up to the victim to fix that process, it’s really up to the organization to fix their authentication and verification processes.”
Uber uses a company called Checkr to perform its background checks.
Last year, both were sued in a South Florida federal court.
It claimed Uber was negligent in allowing a driver to use someone’s stolen identity and it added that both companies broke the law by not notifying the victim when doing a background check.
The case was thrown out because theft couldn’t be traced back to Uber or Checkr.
Eva Velasquez: “So hard to police, and even when you do, it’s very hard to figure out who actually owns that account, who is that person committing that’s these acts.”
Uber drivers have to pass a screening process before they’re allowed to work, but Teresa says it didn’t catch the two people posing as her.
Teresa Dotson: It’s just a scary situation because I have a daughter that, you know, uses Uber and Lyft, and just the thought of her getting in the car with someone that, it’s supposed to be that person and really, truly it’s not that person, you know? So it’s scary.”
Uber tells 7 Investigates it is looking into her case and says “Uber is continuously strengthening our processes to detect and protect against fraudsters’ ever-changing schemes.”
Teresa is now looking for ways to better protect her personal information so no one else can use it to get behind the wheel.
Karen Hensel, 7News.
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