Ghost riders: How scammers can get a free ride using your ride-sharing accounts

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A woman in Florida went through an experience where someone hacked her Uber account and took three rides at her expense in Arizona.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Many people never think of their Uber accounts being stolen or strangers anywhere in the world using their account.

News Center 7 I-Team reporter Molly Koweek explains that a consumer alert had multiple examples of that happening.

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One woman’s account was hacked after she asked Uber to close it.

It was 2:13 a.m. when Gillian Hatcher got the first alert.

Someone had hacked her Uber account and was now riding on her dime.

“I freaked out,” she said. “I was totally alarmed.”

Hatcher said a woman called her claiming to be an Arizona Uber driver.

“There has been several ride requests from my account, so she was afraid my account had been hacked,” she said.

Hatcher called Uber’s emergency number and told the company to close her account.

That night, she was charged for three rides. All in Lake Havasu City, Arizona — 2,300 miles from her home. Each ride was $84 or $85.

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So she called Uber again to report the fraudulent rides.

Hatcher’s account is linked to her debit card, so that night $254 disappeared from her bank account.

Feeling betrayed, she contacted News Center 7’s partner station in Florida.

The giant ride sharing company has a history of problems with how it handles customers’ information.

Two years ago, Washington state accused Uber of failing to report a massive data breach.

An FTC consent agreement found the company failed to closely monitor access to consumer and driver data.

At the Better Business Bureau, Uber has an F rating.

IT security experts say most scammers hack into accounts by tricking you into sharing passwords.

A week after Hatcher first contacted the I-Team, Uber gave her a full refund for the ghost riders.

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Uber said there was no data breach and her account information is encrypted to protect privacy.

Security experts suggest you use unique passwords for every online account. The also advise against using a debit card, because if you are hacked, that money comes straight out of your bank account.

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