Chicago carjacking: Rideshare drivers say pretend names, no profile photos make it simpler for criminals to focus on them

Chicago carjacking: Rideshare drivers say fake names, no profile pictures make it easier for criminals to target them


CHICAGO (WLS) — Rideshare drivers are calling for modifications to in style platforms in response to a dramatic improve in carjackings.

A dive into the info reveals the hotspots for the crimes, and issues about “phantom rideshare profiles” which can add to the chance. Native drivers are so involved concerning the improve, they’ve gathered greater than 1,700 signatures on a petition.

Their prime concern is rider profiles with suspicious names and no photos.

Driver Siraj Mehdi Syed escaped a near-deadly confrontation that was captured on smartphone video.

“I do not know what occurred, after I flip again I see all my glass and every thing broke due to the bullets,” he stated.

He filed a police report and believes the shooters have been attempting to carjack him.

Chicago police stated on Jan. 20, a rideshare driver was carjacked in entrance of Willis Tower. ABC7 Eyewitness Information has talked to different rideshare drivers who stated they have been carjacked by their very own passengers.

“I obtained carjacked from a passenger who stole anyone’s cellphone and requested a journey,” Angel Haralson stated.

Syed stated earlier than he was carjacked he was on the best way to select up a passenger who he stated had a pretend nickname and no image on their profile. Drivers say that places them at larger threat.

“I really feel very nervous after I see the nicknames as a result of I wish to see the actual names of the shopper,” stated Syed.

And no less than 1,700 rideshare drivers agree with him, signing a petition asking Uber and Lyft to ban use of faux names. Drivers wish to see an actual first names and need rideshare corporations to require a state ID or license image to be uploaded as a rider image, as a substitute of the flexibility to make use of a clean avatar.

“Oftentimes individuals will put in photos of their cat, or you recognize some landscaping,” stated Suzette Wright, a rideshare driver who signed the petition.

“I am scared as a result of we do not know who this passenger is,” stated Brandon Franklin, a rideshare driver who signed the petition.

When requested concerning the phantom profiles, Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan advised the I-Workforce, “We’re extraordinarily involved. You get these automobiles to the placement, they’re ready for you and as soon as contained in the automobile it is a lot simpler for them to drive the person out of the automobile. So yeah, we’re seeing an uptick.”

General carjackings within the metropolis and suburbs have skyrocketed through the pandemic, with 218 in January alone in Chicago. That is greater than triple when in comparison with the identical time final yr.

The ABC 7 knowledge group discovered a pointy improve in rideshare drivers being victimized in Chicago. In line with Chicago police, in 2018 there was one incident and in 2019 one incident, however then it jumped to 16 in 2020.

13 incidents concerned weapons, two concerned knives or sharp objects, and three had the rideshare driver bodily overpowered and not using a weapon concerned.

There is a cluster on the West Facet, a smaller quantity on the South Facet, and few extra all around the metropolis.

Uber and Lyft each say they’re working with police to maintain drivers protected, mentioning that each platforms have applied sciences which might monitor rides and permit for drivers and riders to request actual time emergency assist.

However what about these phantom profiles? Lyft says it encourages all riders to add a photograph and that drivers can view the rider’s identify and ranking earlier than selecting to simply accept a journey.

Uber says it “… continues to implement new processes and know-how to determine and stop consumer fraud.”
“You are probably not positive if this journey was ordered by somebody for another person to take the journey, or if somebody is simply utilizing a pretend account,” stated Suzette Wright, rideshare driver.

Carjackings also can occur to rideshare drivers whereas passengers are within the automobile. Consultants say everybody needs to be suspicious of criminals who could faucet your bumper deliberately, attempting to get drivers to cease.
At all times hold the doorways locked whereas driving and your cellphone on and near you so you may make a quick name to 911.

Full assertion from Uber

“Points that have an effect on the protection of drivers are very regarding to us. Working in partnership with regulation enforcement, we have despatched security data to drivers and couriers and are working with police on their investigations into these horrible crimes. Uber continues to implement new processes and know-how to determine and stop consumer fraud.”

Full assertion from Lyft

“Security is key to Lyft, and we’re working with regulation enforcement to assist hold drivers protected. We’re additionally exploring methods to broaden using sure security options and alerts to forestall these sorts of incidents shifting ahead.”

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