Do you Uber? If you do, you probably feel pretty safe getting into the car of a stranger. However, you might not be as safe as you think.
Most people take for granted that Uber does background checks on its drivers, but there are actually a number of shady drivers who have recently been accused of crime, and it’s definitely not the first time they have had run ins with law enforcement. Some of these people are accused of committing crimes against their passengers, and that’s where things really get scary.
CNN recently took a look at both Uber and Lyft and found that both companies approved hiring thousands of drivers who have criminal records. Uber responded to this report by saying it knows that there were some hiring mistakes in the past, but they have improved the way they hire, and in 2017, rejected more than 200,000 people because of issues on the background check. However, both companies are not keen to adopt more scrutiny in the screening process.
Several state and local law enforcement agencies are pushing the companies to put more focus on potential drivers. Right now, for instance, they don’t do any fingerprinting nor federal background checks. Instead, both Uber and Lyft use a third-party background check company. It uses the name and Social Security number of potential drivers to check the national sex offender database, local court records, and suspected terrorist databases. The goal is to get drivers on the road as soon as possible, and many of these checks are instant.
Currently, there are 43 states that require screening for rideshare services, but these laws don’t say that the companies have to use a specific company or screen in a certain way. Instead, 42 of these states allow rideshare companies to take responsibility for the screening. Only Massachusetts requires a company background check and an additional check, which is done by the state. Only New York City requires rideshare drivers to have fingerprinting done.
It’s also worth mentioning that just because a company does background checks that include fingerprinting, it isn’t always fool proof. The FBI system that is used for this has incomplete records and it is not meant to be used in this way.
As someone who uses Uber, it’s important that you keep all of this on the back of your mind before you take your next ride. Yes, there is some type of background check done, but don’t let that fool you; your Uber driver could still be a criminal.
ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity Protection security awareness training program.