Uber driver lifts lid on ‘scam’
A FORMER Uber driver has made explosive claims about a "widespread scam" being carried out by drivers across the country.
The Australian man, who spoke to news.com.au on condition of anonymity, said drivers were brazenly boasting about the profits they were making from various rip-offs on an online forum especially for Uber drivers.
He said unscrupulous drivers were also trading tips and techniques for rip-offs, and that charging innocent passengers a $150 cleaning fee for a fake mess was one of the most common cons.
"As an ex-Uber driver this is a really common scam that is bragged about on forums like Uberpeople.net," the man told news.com.au.
"The cleaning fee is an easy one because all you need is a tin of soup and some cling film (so that you don't actually ruin your car).
"But there's plenty more ways they scam money through Uber. It always disgusted me hearing drivers bragging about it."
The man said the company usually ended up paying the price.
"The thing is, Uber wears the costs usually - as in the customer nine times out of 10 gets the money back if they complain enough, but the driver doesn't lose the $150 - Uber just pays back the customer and goes on about its business," he explained.
"It doesn't help that they don't have any tests before they let you start picking up people. Just a background check and driving history check.
"Don't get me wrong, I like Uber as a service and still drive occasionally, but these scams are wrong and I'm glad people are being informed."
The man said scams were so common he now took precautions when using the ride share app as a passenger.
"I personally take a photo of any Uber I'm getting out of now because it's hard to trust you won't be the next poor chump targeted by this scam," he said.
A search through the forum has found countless examples of Australian Uber employees bragging about various ways to cheat the system.
One driver, from Mount Druitt in western Sydney, revealed they would order an Uber using a fake account that was the same make and model as their own car.
The driver would then sit in the back seat, make a mess without the driver noticing and take a photo, which was then presented to Uber as "evidence" that a mess had been made in their own vehicle by a passenger, in order to claim a cleaning fee.
Another said he mixed up instant porridge and headed to a car wrecking yard, where he looked for cars that are the same make and model located away from the car yard's office or CCTV.
He then claims to break into the cars, spills the "fake spew" on the back seat and takes photos of the mess, again to send in to Uber in a bid to score a fee.
"It is also a great idea to splatter a whole bunch down your left arm so that it looks like your 'chew & spew' rider has been sitting in the front passenger seat and erupted all over your arm."
Another said they placed a jar in their car, and told drunk or vulnerable passengers they needed to pay the newly-introduced $1 taxi and ride-share tax (which is automatically included in your fare).
Another suggested drivers should register for an ABN and create a fake "shell" cleaning business so the driver can supply Uber with their own cleaning invoices as proof.
"I guess you can be greedy and charge $300-500 dollars or whatever and probably still get it," the Perth-based driver wrote.
Another, from Preston, Melbourne, said he had found an "absolute goldmine way to make $500/week" by finding pictures of messes in cars on the internet or from other uses and passing them off as his own.
"Uber always give at least $100 cleaning fee also if pax argue not sick its them vs. you them [sic] drunk no evidence us sober with pic proof we always win," he wrote.
Another common con, known as the "sliders" scam, involves a driver fraudulently claiming a no-show fee from the company.
Uber was contacted for comment, but a response was not received.