Do you ever Uber? If you do, you probably feel relatively safe when getting into a stranger’s car. However, you might not be as safe as it seems.
Most people believe that Uber does thorough background checks on its drivers, but that’s not totally the case. Recently, there have been a number of cases where Uber drivers, who have been accused of crimes when on the job, actually have a record and several run-ins with the cops.
Simply doing a quick Google search for “rideshare assault” provides way too many search results of recent stories of sexual assaults and otherwise, perpetrated by drivers. There’s simply no shortage of predators behind the wheel.
In South Carolina a college student got into a car she thought was her Uber, police say. She was found dead in a field. I was asked to discuss this on CNN. When you watch the video on rideshare murder, you will clearly see how upset I was, and frankly, still am.
CNN took a look at Uber, and its competitor, Lyft, and the report found that both of these companies approved the hire of thousands of drivers who have records. Uber did respond to this report, and it says that it knows that there were some hiring mistakes previously, but the company has worked hard to improve the way it hires. In 2017, the company claims, it rejected over 200,000 applicants because of issues found during a background check.
A number of state and local law enforcement organizations have pushed the ride-sharing companies to put more of a focus on who they are hiring. Right now, for example, they don’t fingerprint applicants, nor do they do any type of Federal background checks. Instead, Lyft and Uber both use third-party background check companies. It uses the Social Security number and name of potential drivers to check the national sex offender database, terrorist databases, and local court records. The goal is to get people on the road quickly, so not a ton of time is spent on this.
At this point in time, there are over 40 states that require screening for ridesharing services. But these laws don’t require the companies to screen in a certain way or to use a specific company. Instead, 42 states allow rideshare companies to take this on by themselves. Massachusetts is one state the requires an additional check in addition to the regular background check, and New York City requires that all drivers for ridesharing companies get their fingerprints taken.
It is also important to mention that just because a company does finger printing along with background checks, this isn’t foolproof. The FBI system that is accessed actually has an incomplete record system, and it really isn’t meant to be used like this.
If you use Uber, keep all of this on your mind before you take your next ride. Yes, there is a simple background check that is done, but that doesn’t mean your Uber driver isn’t a criminal.
Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.