Uber says it is seeing an uptick in scams targeting drivers and passengers, and the ride-sharing company says it's working hard to prevent fraud on its platform.
James Carvalho tried to get a quick ride to the airport from Miami using Uber. Instead, he ended up going in circles after being hacked.
“Immediately I received a text message from Uber with a four-digit code. The driver then said I need code and message pin through the app," Carvalho said.
Carvalho says he received a text with an Uber PIN after giving the driver his phone number through the app.
“My building has a tricky pickup spot and there's sometimes a language barrier with Uber drivers, so I didn't think anything of it. Sent my number through the app," Carvalho said.
He then got another PIN via email that the driver also asked for. That’s when Carvalho was locked out of his account.
“I went back to the app and my screen was blank. Back at the log-in screen. At that point, I realized I had been logged out of my account," he said. "I couldn't log back into it. I'd been scammed."
The scammer activated two-factor authentication and changed the account password.
Carvalho says he then got an alert from his credit card.
"I was in a mad dash to the airport so I had to arrange for other transportation and while en route to the airport, I got an alert from Amex for a $206 charge," Carvalho said.
After six hours, Carvalho got back into his account and discovered the scammer charged him $6 for a ride he never took, plus a $199 tip. Amex credited his account, but the most frustrating part of the whole experience was trying to talk with someone at Uber.
“What I’ve yet to receive from Uber is an explanation as to is whether the driver scammed me or someone scammed the driver and scammed me. I have no idea. I've heard nothing from them," he said. "I can only assume it's a much larger problem if that's the case."
NBC 6 reached out to Uber, who said it would look into the matter. However, hours later, Carvalho said he received a call from corporate saying the driver he requested was also hacked.
“Let’s face it, it was dumb on my part to send it over," Carvalho said. "But I'm in an Uber app, this is a major company. If I logged into the BofA app in a chat with someone, I would trust I'm speaking with a banker or customer service rep. No reason to think I wasn't speaking to a driver."
Uber provided these tips to keep from falling victim to a scam: Use two-factor authentication, don't share your password or verification code with anyone, since Uber never asks; and riders can report issues through the app or help.uber.com.