Chinese Uber drivers have found a devious way to scam passengers out of their money without providing any service, simply by using zombie-like profile photos.
Local reports have dubbed the con as the “ghost driver” problem, with the drivers intending to scare passengers into prompting them to cancel their rides. This way, they get paid a small cancellation fee, earning them money with barely any effort at all, reported Quartz.
A potential Uber passenger is shown a profile photo, plate number and basic information about the driver upon booking a ride. Many customers, upon seeing a monstrous-looking driver in the confirmation pop-up, would rather not risk getting murdered and just cancel the request.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
Those who choose to disregard the frightening photos get scammed as well. These ghost Uber drivers will simply claim that the passenger has entered the vehicle and cancel it after. The customer is then charged a small fee, which is usually left unchallenged.
Uber has already been made aware of the problem by complaining customers and is currently investigating the issue, stating that the company has a “zero-tolerance attitude to scamming behavior.” Uber also committed to refunding those victimized by the zombie drivers.
The company has implemented steps in helping reduce fraud in China by introducing security features like a facial-recognition technology that confirms that the driver’s face matches the one the company has on file.
“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 representative was quoted as saying.