Uber and airport advocates announced a new awareness campaign to help prevent holiday travelers from getting scammed into illegal cabs with imposter Uber drivers.
There will be a new in-app message for travelers who open the Uber app in the Port Authority’s city airports that outlines how to spot hallmarks of fake Uber drivers.
The message will remind travelers that rides can only be solicited within the app and that they should confirm license plates, car make and models and driver names.
“Unfortunately, when travelers arrive from across the globe into LaGuardia and John F Kennedy airports, they’re greeted by scammers with fake Uber signs trying to convince them to get into a car and overcharge them for a ride,” said Josh Mohrer, Uber New York’s general manager, in a press conference held Tuesday across from Penn Station.
Typically, unlicensed drivers with home-printed Uber signs solicit travelers to hop in their cars, and occasionally ask for credit card information. Uber estimates that about 2,300 illegal solicitations occur each week at LaGuardia and JFK airports. They cost the e-hail app thousands in missed fares every week.
But Mohrer said the main purpose of the initiative is customer safety. He announced the initiative alongside Joe Sitt, chairman of the Global Gateway Alliance, an advocacy group for airport travelers.
“One of our biggest challenges is we’ve got the worst transport in and out of the airport system,” said Sitt. “That’s what this day is about … cleaning up one of those problems and making sure people aren’t robbed, hustled taken advantage of, or worse, god forbid, when they visit our airports.”