Fun fact: ridesharing behemoth, Uber, currently has an estimated 40 million customers who use its app regularly. It’s an incredible figure for a number of reasons, but what really stands out to us is this truth–lots of folks are a much more trusting than they used to be!

Heck, we used Uber as recently as last weekend, but even just a few years back, the idea of getting into a stranger’s car–basically, a glorified unlicensed taxi!– sounded like the plot to a horror film. But, just like all things in life, we ended up caving when we came to the realization that the service is just too cheap and convenient to shun.

Having said that, we still do our best to use plenty of common sense before using the service, especially when it comes to driver verification. Just recently, TODAYreleased an exposé on the topic that we felt was so important, we had to share it with you.

This all went down when, one of the show’s reporters, Jeff Rossen, filmed a sting, of sorts, in which he rigged a car up to look like an UberX. Rossen even printed out an Uber decal and attached it to his front windshield to make the vehicle look even more legit. Then, the show’s technical folks placed 5 hidden cameras inside the car before sending it off into a busy club district in LA.

Of course, Rossen is NOT an Uber driver (we’re guessing the reporter doesn’t need a side hustle!), but he DID pose as one that night–and, what happened was very scary

…but, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. After all, we don’t want to spoil the video for you; so, in the meantime, we will instead share 5 no-nonsense tips for avoiding “fake Ubers.” They are as follows:

  1. Always check your Uber app to confirm the driver’s license plate BEFORE getting in the car. If the information on the driver’s profile doesn’t match what you see in front of you, do not assume that it’s a glitch. 
  2. Check the photo of the driver on the app against the actual driver in the front of you. Notice any differences? If so, stay put. 
  3. Never identify yourself; instead, ask the driver what your name is. If they are legit, they should be able to show you your entire Uber passenger profile on their smartphone. 
  4. If it’s possible, always sit in the BACK of the car, not the front. This is a safer place to ride if an emergency were to occur. 
  5. Uber has now implemented a “share status” button, a feature that allows you to share the details of the ride with a trusted friend. This gives them important information if something were to go awry.

Now that we’ve learned some valuable safety tips, it’s time for you to see Jeff Rossen’s fake Uber experiment for yourself. Watch the video below to see just how easy it is to mistake an imposter’s car for a real one!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on all things Uber! Are you surprised that people are falling for fake Uber scams? Do you think the company is doing enough to protect its customers? Do you know of any other ridesharing safety tips that you would like to share?