EUGENE, Ore. -- A new scam is targeting Uber and Lyft drivers in Oregon, according to a spokeswoman with the Portland Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The ride-hailing industry has skyrocketed over the past year. The pandemic made becoming a driver for a ride-hailing company one way to bring in a few extra bucks during hard financial times.
Beth Anne Steele said the FBI has been receiving many scam reports from ride-hailing drivers in the state. The drivers work for one of the big companies like Uber or Lyft, which are also known as ridesharing companies.
"It happens all the time. In terms of the rideshare scam, it is a little bit of a new twist on an old scam," Steele said. "Scammers will go where the money is and where the potential victims are. So in this case, rideshare scams, rideshare drivers -- a growing population of people, particularly through COVID as they are trying to make extra money."
The FBI told KEZI one driver received a call from someone he believed was with the ride-hailing company, telling him he was a great driver. He was then offered a $250 "bonus." The scammer then began asking him questions about his account and banking information so they could make the transfer. He realized he was being scammed, but it was too late.
Steele said the industry as a whole had grown exponentially, so it is just a matter of time before scam artists dial from another number.
Roy Hester said he'd seen it all as one of the first Uber drivers in Eugene. He told KEZI he experienced one of these spam calls, but he immediately saw the red flags.
The scammer will tell the driver to call a specific number, and Hester said that is the red flag that drivers often miss. You can only call the number the scammer provides by using your personal cell phone number instead of going through the rideshare company's app. If a driver does call the provided number, the scammer grabs all your information using your personal number and asking further questions.
Hester said he hopes people will think twice before they answer any type of personal questions.
"They need to be aware that they should not give that information out, any information out, and Uber and Lyft both occasionally send out messages to tell us to not give out our personal information," Hester said. "Occasionally, we have to if someone has a lost item, but Uber support will call us and ask us permission to give that number out."
Steel said if this happens to you, immediately call your bank and file a report with the FBI's internet crime complaint center at IC3.gov.