In a nutshell: Uber Eats' online delivery platform was scammed by two young men from Florida's coastal city of Fort Lauderdale. The resourceful duo abused the system to siphon hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company, until a long investigation unveiled their modus operandi.
Trayon Morgan and Roy Blackwood were arrested by Broward County Sheriff's Office after an eight-month-long investigation uncovered a costly scam against the grocery delivery service provided by Uber Eats. The two Florida men are suspected of scamming Uber out of more than $1 million, Broward County Sheriff said.
The fraud started in January 2022, the investigators stated, and took place mainly in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Morgan was the main star of the operation, as he opened several accounts on the Uber Eats platform acting both as the customer and the courier. He would place a fake order as a customer, and then "accept" the same order as a courier.
Uber Eats provides a preauthorized and preloaded credit card that can be used to purchase up to $700 in a single transaction. Morgan would cancel the fake "consumer" order, and then he would purchase a gift card with Uber's prepaid card.
Blackwood seemingly acted as the "driver" of the fraudster duo, escorting Morgan to different Walgreens stores to spend the previously purchased gift cards. Broward County Sheriff's surveillance operation uncovered 27 different Walgreens locations visited by the scammers in a single day, causing Uber a loss of $5,013.28. Morgan would use stolen or completely fabricated identities of Uber drivers, putting his own photo on their (legit) license information.
Detectives said that they worked together with Uber to discover and investigate the scam, using unspecified "investigative techniques" to confirm Morgan's involvement with the fake accounts. Broward County Sheriff issued arrest warrants on August 7, finally capturing Blackwood on August 16 and Morgan on August 22.
The two suspects are now charged with organizing a scheme to defraud and grand theft. An Uber spokesperson said that the company is grateful for the efforts by law enforcement in the case. Uber continues to invest in "robust anti-fraud systems" and technology, the spokesperson said, which allowed the company's Global Investigations Team to "proactively alert" law enforcement about the scam. Fighting fraudulent activity is a priority for Uber.