Lowcountry Uber drivers targeted in ‘highly sophisticated scams’

Uber drivers across the Lowcountry are getting scammed by what they call a “highly sophisticated scammer,” taking hard-earned money away in a new way.
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 11:06 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2023 at 11:27 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Uber drivers across the Lowcountry are getting scammed by what they call a “highly sophisticated scammer,” taking hard-earned money away in a new way.

Multiple Uber employees say that the scammers are calling drivers on their personal cellphones with a phone number popping up as a verified Uber corporate number, confusing drivers from the start.

One scammer called Paul Binion, a 7-year Uber driver, late at night on June 5 while he was driving customers around the Lowcountry.

“It looks really legit, it sounds legit,” Binion says. “They speak the lingo. The text message that shows all of the check marks and stuff that looks good, but it’s a very highly sophisticated scam.”

Upon answering the call, the individual knew that Binion was actively driving customers and asked him to send confirmation of his license plate number and a selfie to prove that another person was not driving his car.

“They [the caller] were also wanting to get my Uber Pro card confirmed. The guy knew that I had a Pro Card; he knew that that was my form of payment,” he says.

“I didn’t really question a whole lot because of the fact that, ‘okay, you’ve got more information than just some average Joe making a phone call.’”

Uber Pro Cards allow drivers to use or move money earned after each trip.

Binion says he quickly transferred money from his Pro Card to his checking account upon feeling suspicious about the call, but the scammer still took $70 from him before catching onto the plan.

“They’re able to know the fact that I’m online, which means they’re able to access the platform from the back end. The fact that they were able to get my phone number,” he adds. “Just the fact that they’re able to get all this information, that’s a real problem.”

Other rideshare drivers in the area, including Lyft, have said they’ve experienced the same thing shared Facebook groups, where some have lost far more money.

“This is an old scam, but it’s a new face, and it’s a much stronger,” Binion says. “It’s a much stronger and sophisticated attempt to get a few dollars from these drivers.”

He adds the best way to avoid being scammed is to keep in mind that Uber typically does not call drivers for personal information or late at night.

Uber has not yet responded to a request for comment.