Uber China's "Ghost Drivers" are scamming scared customers out of their money

By midian182 ยท 11 replies
Sep 22, 2016
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  1. When Uber China merged with local rival Didi Chuxing last month, it seemed that the US firm had found an answer to its troubles in a country where it was losing $1 billion per year. But now that its financial issues have been taken care of, there’s a new problem for it to deal with: “ghost drivers.”

    The name doesn’t refer to the undead rising from their graves and shuttling passengers around; it’s actually a scam being carried out by some Chinese Uber drivers. Several publications in the country have reported that customers in Tianjin, Qingdao, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou have canceled their rides after seeing their pickup drivers’ creepy profile pictures.

    Those who cancel the journey before the vehicle turns up are charged a small fee that goes to the driver. But even when their appearance isn’t enough to scare a customer away, the drivers have been carrying out other scams. These include “starting” the trips before passengers get into the cars (ghost rides), or the drivers accepting rides and never actually showing up, leaving customers to cancel the journey and pay the fine.

    Uber said it is aware of the problem and has “zero-tolerance attitude to scamming behavior.” The company uses a driver-side facial recognition feature in China to periodically checks that the person driving is the same one who created the account, but it seems the ghost drivers have found a way to circumvent the system – unless they really are all zombies, spirits, and vampires.

    “We have taken immediate actions and banned these reported individual fraud accounts while continuing to investigate and crack down on any fraudulent behavior to protect rider and driver interests,” an Uber spokesperson told Quartz.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2016
  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,329   +1,977

    But the question remains of how do they prevent those that are banned from returning under an assumed name and identity? Perhaps some form of cross checking licenses, etc. might be effective, but I've never seen a security measure yet that was fool proof ..... unless of course they get all the riders to walk instead!
  3. fl21289

    fl21289 TS Booster Posts: 60   +40

    Why is it that china always have to start things.... Scams... BOTs... Gold Farming. Like really dude come on now. Ruins everything for everyone.
    amghwk and aMerkuri like this.
  4. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,595   +257

    I would assume you have to enter a bit of personal information, like driver license number, social security number, assuming other information as well, to make this more difficult. Maybe even recording face recognition and the banned drivers face is recorded and if the software detects the same face then maybe? I dont think we're quite there with that tech though...
  5. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,595   +257

    lol it's not just china... wow man
    Kunming likes this.
  6. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,264   +436

    Ya that **** happends in america too.

    Its just that china has a Billion plus people so the percentages of Scammers,scum bags and morons are just going to be higher and more visible.
    Kunming and fl21289 like this.
  7. theruck

    theruck TS Booster Posts: 124   +35

    percentage is not related to the number of ppl. you get 1 ***** out of 10, it is the same percentage as 10 morons out of 100. neither will the percentage be more visible as it is always the same percentage. you wont see 1% easier in 1 milion than 1% in 1 hundred
    mgwerner and psycros like this.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,971   +2,527

    Oddly, I thought I saw most of those same faces winning the AI judged beauty contest! :eek:
    psycros likes this.
  9. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,870   +1,288

    "The company uses a driver-side facial recognition feature in China to periodically checks that the person driving is the same one who created the account, but it seems the ghost drivers have found a way to circumvent the system.."

    Yeah, I believe its called a picture printed on photo quality paper.
  10. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 574   +72

    The irony mentioning china, and "wow" in a reply that mentions Gold Farming :D
  11. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,595   +257

  12. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    Exactly. Not like phones have IR cameras, so they can be easily fooled by a flat image.

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