You remember the story of Samantha Josephson, the 21-year old college student at the University of South Carolina, who was last seen getting into a black vehicle that was not her Uber. She was found 14 hours later in a field about 90 miles away, luckily her attacker was found and charged. Since then, South Carolina has created and renewed laws that make it easier for riders to identify Uber and Lyft vehicles.
Recently, there has been another potential kidnapping situation involving Uber. Two women, who knew the man was not their Uber driver but thought they saw an Uber sign, got into a vehicle. They didn't suspect anything to be wrong until they realized they ended up on a dirt road that they were not familiar with. They were able to get out and call 911, but the man sped away and has not been able to be located or identified.
Ultimately this brings me to my point, we need to be more aware of ride-sharing apps. Below are some tips to remember:
1. Wait for your ride indoors
This prevents confusion with other rides. You will be notified when your ride arrives, so there would be no reason to get into another vehicle.
2. Confirm details when the car arrives
Pay attention to the make, model, and color of the car. Ask the driver what their name is, and make sure the license plate matches what you have.
3. Map your own route during the ride
If you are in an unfamiliar area, monitor your route with your GPS navigation, this way, you know if the driver is staying on route.
4. Don't share private information with your driver
Most ride-sharing apps encrypt both the drivers and passenger number to protect privacy. You shouldn't need to give your driver any of your own personal information.
5. Tell a friend where you're going and who you're with
Both Lyft and Uber will let you share your driver, where you're going, and when you're supposed to get there to friends and family. This allows your friend to track your trip and see the estimated time of arrival - even if they don't have the app.
Be safe, be aware.