(Cook County)-Man posing as Uber driver picked up women outside bars and raped them, prosecutors say

BYMINYVONNE BURKE

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Friday, September 29, 2017, 12:10 PM

A Chicago man faces charges after prosecutors say he allegedly pretended to be an Uber driver to pick up five different women and then sexually assault them.

Musaab Afandi was initially arrested in March by Stokie Police after two women said the 33-year-old man attacked them after posing as their Uber driver. Those cases are still pending.

On Wednesday, Afandi appeared in court for a bond hearing after DNA testing allegedly linked him to three additional attacks, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Some of the sexual assault cases date back to last year.

Assistant State's Attorney Jillian Anselmo said during Wednesday's hearing that one 21-year-old female victim said she was attacked by Afandi in April of last year after he picked her up at Mullen's Bar in Wrigleyville. The woman said when Afandi pulled up she asked him if he was her Uber driver, CBS Chicago reports.

When he told her he was, the woman said she climbed into the back seat. After realizing that Afandi was not taking her to her destination, the woman asked him to pull over.

She told investigators that he stopped on a dark street, climbed into the back seat and raped her.

The woman was able to escape and called a friend. She then took a taxi home and went to the hospital the following day. DNA from the rape kit matched Afandi's, CBS reports.

A second victim told investigators that she was attacked by Afandi in December after leaving her job's Christmas party in River North. The 27-year-old woman said she got into what she thought was a taxi, driven by Afandi. She said she woke up in the back of the car naked with Afandi on top of her. The woman was able to escape before he sexually assaulted her.

Authorities said photos and a video of the woman were allegedly found on Afandi's cell phone.

In January, Afandi allegedly attacked another woman. The third victim said she was waiting with friends outside Old Crow Smokeshouse in Wrigleyville. After her friends left in a separate, official Uber, the 25-year-old woman said Afandi pulled up and she got in the backseat of the car. The woman said Afandi pulled onto a side street and raped her. After escaping, she ran to a nearby residence for help. DNA from a sexual assault kit was also allegedly linked to the phony driver.

Afandi is charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated criminal sexual assault. He was denied bail in Wednesday's hearing. DNA Info reports that an Uber spokeswoman urged riders to check the company's public awareness campaign to avoid getting into the wrong vehicle.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/fake-uber-driver-charged-raping-women-article-1.3530197

Uber driver caught by passenger allegedly receiving oral sex from lady friend

By Jackie Salo

July 25, 2017 | 12:10am | Updated

Uber reportedly has suspended a driver after a customer claimed the man was engaged in sex acts with a woman during the “dangerous and inappropriate” trip.

Aner Manuel, of Boston, took to the company’s Facebook page Thursday to complain about a trip during which his driver appeared to receive oral sex from a woman.

According to Manuel, he got in the car and noticed there was another person in the front seat even though he did not select UberPool — the option that allows multiple passengers to share a ride.

“As we pulled off the female in the front (who was clearly on drugs) attempted to open the door and could not even sit straight as the vehicle was in motion,” he wrote. “She then began to grope him and grab him.”

Manuel also shared a video that showed the woman caressing and kissing the driver.

“She then proceeded to perform oral sex,” Manuel said. “This was my last straw. I asked the driver to drop me off.”

He claimed that he contacted Uber to complain, but only received a $10 credit.

“They have been extremely bad at answering any messages I’ve sent, and I demand something gets done,” he wrote. “This is not okay!”

According to Gizmodo, the company is investigating the incident.

“The behavior of this former driver is appalling and is not tolerated on the Uber app,” said a company spokesperson. “As soon as this situation was reported to us, we immediately removed this driver’s access.”

 

 

To view the video go to the link below-

http://nypost.com/2017/07/25/uber-driver-caught-by-passenger-allegedly-receiving-oral-sex-from-lady-friend/

UBER: WHAT’S REPORTED IS “DEEPLY DISTURBING”

July 13, 2017  

Google “Uber” and “deeply disturbing.” See it?

“Uber” and “deeply troubling” works, too. Uber uses the same rote response for news stories involving sexual assault of passengers by its drivers.

Here’s Uber’s full boilerplate of late: “What’s reported in the complaint is deeply troubling and something we take extremely seriously.”

Here’s something truly disturbing. Uber and Lyft drivers stand accused of 16 sexual assaults in news stories published between June 6 and July 12 of 2017. Sixteen in a 37-day span. An average of one every 2.3 days.

One accused Uber driver in Kansas City, Yahkhahnahn Ammi, served eight years of a 16-year prison sentence for attempted murder. While in prison, the future driver was known as Perrie D. Gibson.

When he got out, he changed his name.

Uber’s name-based background checks can’t and won’t screen out this attempted murderer. Uber has had other convicted murderers sign up with fake names.

Rather than us discussing this, let’s listen in on an UberPeople.net driver forum threadon this story:

“I guess an attempted murder conviction disappears off the uber background check with a name change,” says one driver.

“Sad that it’s that easy,” responds another.

“Or you can just have your brother who ISN’T a registered sex offender open a driver account and give you the phone,” chimes in a third.

Here comes an alternate view.

“Ummm. Fares are low. So ummm. Zero effs given. Not going through nsa style checks jyst to haul jerks around for 60 cents mile,” says “Skepticaldriver.”

By “nsa style” we can assume Skepticaldriver means fingerprint-based criminal background checks conducted by law enforcement. He or she is pointing to something that grates. Uber cuts fares again and again. The corporation has turned driving into such a crap job that this driver isn’t going to do one more thing that doesn’t make him some money. It’s adding insult to injury, Skepticaldriver seems to be saying.

After years of fare cuts, Uber has refused to require fingerprint background checks partially on the grounds these type checks will hurt driver retention. But it’s the fare cuts and other varieties of driver abuse which have really hurt driver retention.

Meanwhile, as previously noted: 16 reported sexual assaults involving (mostly) Uber drivers in 37 days.

Here’s how the Kansas City Uber driver story ends: “In a statement Uber says they are taking the matter extremely seriously.”

In an exceedingly hollow statement that signifies nothing.

 

http://www.whosdrivingyou.org/blog/uber-whats-reported-is-deeply-disturbing

8,000 Uber, Lyft Drivers Fail Massachusetts Background Check

By Rakesh Sharma | April 6, 2017 — 4:44 PM EDT

About 11.5 percent (or, 8,206 of the total 71,000) of drivers for Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft who passed background checks conducted by the ride-sharing apps have been barred from driving for the services after they failed a state government criminal and driving records check in Massachusetts.

Of the drivers, 403 had serious offenses such as violence or sexual assaults on their records. The remaining had driving-related infractions, such as speeding tickets or driving under the influence. Drivers whose cases had been dismissed without convictions were also barred from driving for ride-sharing apps. (See also: The Story of Uber.)

A key point to consider regarding the disqualification is the time period under scrutiny. Uber and Lyft both said the law stipulates that they restrict background checks to just seven years, and that is why the companies were unable to uncover the drivers' past histories. State government agencies peruse longer time spans for serious offenses.

Uber represented the state government's longer time period as a loss of "access to economic opportunities" due to an "unfair and unjust indefinite lookback period." It also stated that this was an opportunity to repair the current system. However, the Mayor of Everett, a town in Massachusetts where two sexual assault cases involving Uber drivers were reported, said the release of state records showed that there was a need for government regulations for such services. (See also: Key Differences Between Uber and Lyft.)

While there have been no reported cases of sexual assault for Lyft, Uber has been the subject of multiple lawsuits by women who have been sexually assaulted or raped by their drivers. Last year, the company also paid $28.5 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit brought by six men who claimed that Uber was misleading riders by claiming to provide an "industry-leading background check."

The latest news is sure to add pressure on ride-sharing apps to add more comprehensive background checks. Otherwise, they might find their market share being taken away by niche apps. For example, Safr, an Uber for women, was released recently to serve Boston and surrounding areas. (See also: Safr Is an Uber for Women.)



Read more: 8,000 Uber, Lyft Drivers Fail Massachusetts Background Check | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/news/8000-uber-lyft-drivers-fail-massachusetts-background-check/#ixzz4fMvWzwLY 
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MASSACHUSETTS AND MARYLAND REJECT THOUSANDS OF UBER, LYFT DRIVERS

April 14, 2017  

This week the news arrived that Massachusetts and Maryland have rejected thousands of already approved Uber and Lyft drivers.

51 applications from sex offenders. That’s how many Massachusetts found driving for Uber and Lyft.  Here are the other reasons applications were rejected:

  • 352 for criminal-history incidents related to “sex, abuse, and exploitation,”
  • 958 for violent crimes,
  • 152 for operating under the influence.

In a follow-up Boston Globe article on how other states may be considering more stringent background checks, Lyft spokesman, Adrian Durbin made this point: “It would be a mistake to prevent good and qualified drivers around the country from earning needed income as a result of one state’s rule-making.”

We wholeheartedly disagree.

Massachusetts recent findings offer incontrovertible, bulletproof data that law enforcement and governments should be background-checking Uber and Lyft drivers. The sampling was enormous: 70,789 applications. The reviewer—the state of Massachusetts—is unassailable.

In fact, we believe Massachusetts would have found more bad apples had law enforcement been able to use the gold standard of criminal background checks: fingerprints.

It would be the most reasonable move in the world for other states and cities to emulate Massachusetts supplemental background checks of Uber and Lyft drivers. And to further bolster the effectiveness of government checks by using fingerprinting.

Uber loves to hide data, produce questionable data, and diminish the value of data which is critical of its processes. But Uber and Lyft will be hard-pressed to deny the value of Massachusetts’ findings.

Besides, it’s not just one state.

Maryland’s supplemental background checks have rejected 2,850 applications for criminal offenses or driving-related issues.

2,850.

If you multiply Massachusetts’ and Maryland’s rejected applications by the number of states allowing Uber and Lyft to conduct their own background checks, it begins to explain why our site lists 217 reported sexual assaults and harassments against Uber and Lyft drivers.

 

http://www.whosdrivingyou.org/blog/massachusetts-maryland-reject-thousands-uber-lyft-drivers?utm_content=buffer984d1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

How Uber Deceives the Authorities Worldwide

By MIKE ISAAC

MARCH 3, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber has for years engaged in a worldwide program to deceive the authorities in markets where its low-cost ride-hailing service was resisted by law enforcement or, in some instances, had been banned.

The program, involving a tool called Greyball, uses data collected from the Uber app and other techniques to identify and circumvent officials who were trying to clamp down on the ride-hailing service. Uber used these methods to evade the authorities in cities like Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries like Australia, China and South Korea.

Greyball was part of a program called VTOS, short for “violation of terms of service,” which Uber created to root out people it thought were using or targeting its service improperly. The program, including Greyball, began as early as 2014 and remains in use, predominantly outside the United States. Greyball was approved by Uber’s legal team.

Greyball and the VTOS program were described to The New York Times by four current and former Uber employees, who also provided documents. The four spoke on the condition of anonymity because the tools and their use are confidential and because of fear of retaliation by Uber.

Uber’s use of Greyball was recorded on video in late 2014, when Erich England, a code enforcement inspector in Portland, Ore., tried to hail an Uber car downtown in a sting operation against the company.

 

At the time, Uber had just started its ride-hailing service in Portland without seeking permission from the city, which later declared the service illegal. To build a case against the company, officers like Mr. England posed as riders, opening the Uber app to hail a car and watching as miniature vehicles on the screen made their way toward the potential fares.

But unknown to Mr. England and other authorities, some of the digital cars they saw in the app did not represent actual vehicles. And the Uber drivers they were able to hail also quickly canceled. That was because Uber had tagged Mr. England and his colleagues — essentially Greyballing them as city officials — based on data collected from the app and in other ways. The company then served up a fake version of the app, populated with ghost cars, to evade capture.

 

Portland vs. Uber: City code officers try to ticket drivers

VIDEO BY THE OREGONIAN

At a time when Uber is already under scrutiny for its boundary-pushing workplace culture, its use of the Greyball tool underscores the lengths to which the company will go to dominate its market. Uber has long flouted laws and regulations to gain an edge against entrenched transportation providers, a modus operandi that has helped propel it into more than 70 countries and to a valuation close to $70 billion.

Yet using its app to identify and sidestep the authorities where regulators said Uber was breaking the law goes further toward skirting ethical lines — and, potentially, legal ones. Some at Uber who knew of the VTOS program and how the Greyball tool was being used were troubled by it.

In a statement, Uber said, “This program denies ride requests to users who are violating our terms of service — whether that’s people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret ‘stings’ meant to entrap drivers.”

The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, said in a statement, “I am very concerned that Uber may have purposefully worked to thwart the city’s job to protect the public.”

Uber, which lets people hail rides using a smartphone app, operates multiple types of services, including a luxury Black Car offering in which drivers are commercially licensed. But an Uber service that many regulators have had problems with is the lower-cost version, known in the United States as UberX.

UberX essentially lets people who have passed a background check and vehicle inspection become Uber drivers quickly. In the past, many cities have banned the service and declared it illegal.

That is because the ability to summon a noncommercial driver — which is how UberX drivers using private vehicles are typically categorized — was often unregulated. In barreling into new markets, Uber capitalized on this lack of regulation to quickly enlist UberX drivers and put them to work before local regulators could stop them.

After the authorities caught on to what was happening, Uber and local officials often clashed. Uber has encountered legal problems over UberX in cities including Austin, Tex., Philadelphia and Tampa, Fla., as well as internationally. Eventually, agreements were reached under which regulators developed a legal framework for the low-cost service.

That approach has been costly. Law enforcement officials in some cities have impounded vehicles or issued tickets to UberX drivers, with Uber generally picking up those costs on the drivers’ behalf. The company has estimated thousands of dollars in lost revenue for every vehicle impounded and ticket received.

 

Uber’s Greyball tool was developed to weed out riders thought to be using its service improperly.

MARK RALSTON / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE — GETTY IMAGES

This is where the VTOS program and the use of the Greyball tool came in. When Uber moved into a new city, it appointed a general manager to lead the charge. This person, using various technologies and techniques, would try to spot enforcement officers.

One technique involved drawing a digital perimeter, or “geofence,” around the government offices on a digital map of a city that Uber was monitoring. The company watched which people were frequently opening and closing the app — a process known internally as eyeballing — near such locations as evidence that the users might be associated with city agencies.

Other techniques included looking at a user’s credit card information and determining whether the card was tied directly to an institution like a police credit union.

Enforcement officials involved in large-scale sting operations meant to catch Uber drivers would sometimes buy dozens of cellphones to create different accounts. To circumvent that tactic, Uber employees would go to local electronics stores to look up device numbers of the cheapest mobile phones for sale, which were often the ones bought by city officials working with budgets that were not large.

In all, there were at least a dozen or so signifiers in the VTOS program that Uber employees could use to assess whether users were regular new riders or probably city officials.

If such clues did not confirm a user’s identity, Uber employees would search social media profiles and other information available online. If users were identified as being linked to law enforcement, Uber Greyballed them by tagging them with a small piece of code that read “Greyball” followed by a string of numbers.

When someone tagged this way called a car, Uber could scramble a set of ghost cars in a fake version of the app for that person to see, or show that no cars were available. Occasionally, if a driver accidentally picked up someone tagged as an officer, Uber called the driver with instructions to end the ride.

Uber employees said the practices and tools were born in part out of safety measures meant to protect drivers in some countries. In France, India and Kenya, for instance, taxi companies and workers targeted and attacked new Uber drivers.

“They’re beating the cars with metal bats,” the singer Courtney Love posted on Twitter from an Uber car in Paris at a time of clashes between the company and taxi drivers in 2015. Ms. Love said that protesters had ambushed her Uber ride and had held her driver hostage. “This is France? I’m safer in Baghdad.”

Uber has said it was also at risk from tactics used by taxi and limousine companies in some markets. In Tampa, for instance, Uber cited collusion between the local transportation authority and taxi companies in fighting ride-hailing services.

In those areas, Greyballing started as a way to scramble the locations of UberX drivers to prevent competitors from finding them. Uber said that was still the tool’s primary use.

But as Uber moved into new markets, its engineers saw that the same methods could be used to evade law enforcement. Once the Greyball tool was put in place and tested, Uber engineers created a playbook with a list of tactics and distributed it to general managers in more than a dozen countries on five continents.

At least 50 people inside Uber knew about Greyball, and some had qualms about whether it was ethical or legal. Greyball was approved by Uber’s legal team, led by Salle Yoo, the company’s general counsel. Ryan Graves, an early hire who became senior vice president of global operations and a board member, was also aware of the program.

Ms. Yoo and Mr. Graves did not respond to requests for comment.

Outside legal specialists said they were uncertain about the legality of the program. Greyball could be considered a violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or possibly intentional obstruction of justice, depending on local laws and jurisdictions, said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University who also writes for The New York Times.

“With any type of systematic thwarting of the law, you’re flirting with disaster,” Professor Henning said. “We all take our foot off the gas when we see the police car at the intersection up ahead, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this goes far beyond avoiding a speed trap.”

On Friday, Marietje Schaake, a member of the European Parliament for the Dutch Democratic Party in the Netherlands, wrote that she had written to the European Commission asking, among other things, if it planned to investigate the legality of Greyball.

To date, Greyballing has been effective. In Portland on that day in late 2014, Mr. England, the enforcement officer, did not catch an Uber, according to local reports.

And two weeks after Uber began dispatching drivers in Portland, the company reached an agreement with local officials that said that after a three-month suspension, UberX would eventually be legally available in the city.

Follow Mike Isaac on Twitter @MikeIsaac.The New York Times

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/technology/uber-greyball-program-evade-authorities.html?emc=edit_na_20170303&nl=breaking-news&nlid=49918281&ref=cta&_r=1&referer=http://m.facebook.com/

 

Lyft sued by Westwood woman over allegations of driver sexual assault

 

POSTED BY TONI MCALLISTER ON JANUARY 19, 2017 IN CRIME 

Lyft Inc. was sued Thursday by a woman who alleges one of the transportation company’s drivers picked her up from her workplace in the Mid-Wilshire district in 2015 and drove her to Baldwin Park, where he sexually assaulted her.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges assault, battery, false imprisonment, negligent hiring and retention and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiff is seeking unspecified damages.

A Lyft representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

According to her court papers, the woman works as a “Chinese professor.” She says she ordered a ride from Lyft on Jan. 28, 2015, and her intended destination was her home in Westwood.

But after she got into the vehicle, the Lyft driver locked the passenger doors internally, secured the windows and “told plaintiff that he intended to have sex with her,” according to the complaint.

“Plaintiff begged for her life and demanded defendant take her home, which was the opposite direction on the 10 (Santa Monica) Freeway,” the suit states.

The woman was driven to an isolated field in Baldwin Park near the San Bernardino (10) Freeway, where the driver “sexually assaulted and battered plaintiff,” the suit alleges.

After the attack, the driver drove the woman “to a public location where she ran for her life and summoned police,” the suit states.

The suit alleges Lyft negligently hired, supervised and maintained the driver, who is identified in the complaint only as “Marvin Doe.”

–City News Service

http://mynewsla.com/crime/2017/01/19/lyft-sued-by-westwood-woman-over-allegations-of-driver-sexual-assault/

Dallas woman sues Uber after crash changed her life

Local regulators need to WAKE UP! Protect the general public from this! 

Uber and Lyft’s arguments against fingerprinting make little sense

 

By Editorial Board January 2

MANY OF the nation’s biggest cities have tried to require ride-booking services such as Uber and Lyft to establish fingerprint background checks for their drivers, in the interest of public safety, only to discover that the companies, which hate the idea, have them over a barrel. The pressure on local leaders can be intense: Don’t they want their town to remain in (or join) the 21st century? And what about the thousands of people who make ends meet as part-time drivers in the gig economy — don’t they deserve the extra income?

In the face of threats by Uber and Lyft to leave or stay out of a city, a county or even an entire state, many public officials have buckled, much as Maryland’s Public Service Commission did last month in dropping its effort to force fingerprint background checks. (It did beef up rules for biographic background checks.)

The fact is that fingerprinting is widely required for bus, taxi and limousine drivers; it is generally regarded by law enforcement as the gold standard of background checks. Given reports nationally that some gig drivers have assaulted passengers, fingerprinting makes sense as an added measure to protect the public.

Uber and Lyft complain that fingerprinting is unfair, onerous, racially tilted and unreliable. Those arguments are largely specious. For one thing, both firms submit to the requirement in New York City, and Uber also does so in Houston. In other words, if the city (and profit potential) is big enough, the firms suck it up and bear the burden. And if the city isn’t big enough, the firms have shown themselves willing to walk, as they did when voters in Austinpassed a ballot measure requiring fingerprint background checks this past spring.

The firms say they worry fingerprinting is a hassle that may discourage the flow of new drivers — about a half-million have already signed up across the country. In fact, the burden is minimal: In Houston, prospective Uber drivers pay about $40 to be fingerprinted, a process that takes about 10 minutes.

As for the argument that fingerprinting disadvantages black prospective drivers because they are disproportionately and sometimes erroneously represented in criminal databases — well, yes. Yet few dispute that fingerprinting provides the public with added protection when it comes to hiring bus drivers, teachers, security guards, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, nurses, government employees and many other prospective employees in sensitive occupations that involve interacting with the public.

The firms’ real reason for opposing fingerprinting may be that it (slightly) strengthens the argument that their drivers are employees and not, as Uber and Lyft insist, private contractors. As employees, they would be eligible to press for a range of benefits that would upend the firms’ labor costs and business models.

Uber and Lyft say their own biographic background checks, performed by private contractors, are just as efficient in weeding out applicants with criminal backgrounds. Not many law enforcement agencies buy that. Fingerprinting isn’t a foolproof tool for background checks, but neither are the biographic databases used by the ride-booking services now. The best way to protect the public is to insist on both.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/uber-and-lyfts-arguments-against-fingerprinting-make-little-sense/2017/01/02/a0926aae-ce1b-11e6-b8a2-8c2a61b0436f_story.html?utm_term=.a0666c9bb1b9

Denver Lyft driver accused of assaulting woman visiting city

Mark Boyle

7:00 PM, Dec 27, 2016

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- A San Diego woman visiting the City of Denver said an altercation between she and her Lyft driver turned violent, leading to an alleged assault.

Alicia Corbett told Denver7 she took a Lyft ride home after an evening out with friends on Christmas night, only to receive got a huge surprise when her driver became frustrated in the car.

“I'm like, 'Hey, you're going the wrong way like completely other way,' and I said 'Tour GPS is wrong, I could just get you there from here' and he was like 'Okay' and got all kind of flustered," said Corbett.

Corbett said after missing several turns, the situation escalated when he dropped her off.

“He sped in here and slammed on his brakes and then he just started calling me names and yelling at me and I just got out of the car and I'm like 'okay' and like I told you started walking up," said Corbett.

That’s when Corbett reports the driver walked up from behind her, punched her in the head and kicked her after she had fallen down.

“He actually went around the back of his car and I was like 'just, just get back in the car,' said Corbett.  “Just clocked me like right here, and then I fell on the ground and then he kicked me."

Denver Police say in the past year they've received 17 reports of assault involving Lyft and Uber.

In some of those the driver was the aggressor, in others they were the victim.

Police say it's a good idea to screenshot the confirmation with your driver’s info on it and also take a picture of the license plate.

Regardless, Corbett says there's no excuse for what happened to her.

“That could have been worse, he could have seriously hurt me, so, I don't know how often I'll be doing it from now on,” said Corbett.

Lyft released a statement to Denver7 about the incident which reads:

“The safety of the Lyft community is our top priority, and we were deeply concerned to hear about these incidents.  We have a strict zero-tolerance policy regarding violent or discriminatory behavior, and the drivers involved have been banned from accessing the Lyft platform.”

 

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/denver-lyft-driver-accused-of-assaulting-woman-visiting-city

Another SF Woman Held Hostage By Ride-Hailing Driver

 

A 71-year-old woman was kidnapped by a ride-hailing driver around 5:20pm yesterday in the Outer Richmond.

According to police, the victim was the last passenger in a "ride sharing Pool." The driver stopped a few blocks from her set destination and threatened to drive further if she did not give him more money.  

When the victim refused to give him money, the suspect locked the doors and began driving "erratically," the SFPD reports. He "eventually" dropped the victim off at 40th Avenue and Balboa, blocks from her destination, and fled.

The suspect has not been identified.

If this incident sounds eerily familiar that's because this is the second report of a female ride-hailing user being kidnapped by her driver within the past week.

On Monday, police reported that a 21-year-old woman was held hostage and sexually harassed by a ride-hailing driver in the early morning hours of Saturday, December 10th. The woman was driven to a secluded location but later released, uninjured, by her assailant—who has not been arrested either.

In both cases, the SFPD withheld the names of the ride-hailing companies the suspects were working for at the time of the attacks.

SFPD public information officer Carlos Manfredi tells Hoodline that "typically" the SFPD does not release the name of the ride-hailing company a suspect was using "because the person driving is working as a contractor."

For clarification on whether it is lawful to release the names of the ride-hailing companies involved in such incidences, Officer Manfredi said he would have to contact the city attorney.

We're reaching out to the City Attorney's Office and will report back with our findings if and when we receive a response on this matter.

Update, 9:46am: John Coté, communications director with the City Attorney's office, confirmed to us that it is lawful for SFPD to withhold the name of the ride-hailing company in cases where a contractor commits a crime on the clock. 

"Under the California Public Records Act, law enforcement agencies have discretion about what information to release in an active investigation," he said. "The police department can withhold certain information, pending the completion of the investigation."

http://hoodline.com/2016/12/another-sf-woman-held-hostage-by-ride-hailing-driver

Police: Fake Rideshare Driver Scams Passenger For $1K

 

Police are searching for a fake Uber driver that they say is stealing money from customers by asking for a credit card after claiming there is something wrong with the passenger’s payment.

Police say a Mount Prospect resident was picked up by someone who looked like an Uber driver in Chicago near Clark and Ontario streets. The victim was taken all the way back to Mount Prospect when the driver claimed her payment wouldn’t go through the app. He then demanded she pay with her debit card and required the victim to enter her pin number on his phone, police say. The victim told police a few days later her bank account was short $1,200.

Mount Prospect Police said they are looking for the alleged scammer.

“Everybody needs money for the holidays and some people don’t care how they get it,” said Det. Dirk Ollech. “This victim saw an Uber sticker in the vehicle but those obviously can be obtained through other means.”

Katie Lawson, an Uber customer, said she was upset after hearing about the crime.

“I would be very worried if I were put in that position,” she told NBC 5. “I’m not sure what I would do, but I wouldn’t necessarily hand it over and think that would be OK.”

Since October, Chicago Police have reported several similar incidents, adding up to thousands of dollars from victims. Uber says it offers safety tips for riders to follow—but the police say using common sense is key.

“It seems like maybe people are becoming a little bit too trusting," Ollech said. “Just not following the safety steps.”

 The decal on the window isn’t enough to go by, police say. Uber encourages riders to check the license plate against the one shown in the app, to make sure the driver matches the photo in the app and to ask for the driver’s name—and to never accept solicitations.

Mount Prospect and Chicago police are working together in an ongoing investigation.



Source: Police: Fake Rideshare Driver Scams Passenger For $1K | NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/fake-uber-driver-scam-406372005.html#ixzz4T1Xp3vsp 
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New Milford Police: Uber Driver Says He Packed Illegal Gun For Protection

11/14/2016

NEW MILFORD, N.J. -- An Uber driver from Jersey City who was pulled over after he ran a stop sign before dawn Sunday told a New Milford police officer that he kept an illegal .9mm handgun loaded with blanks on the floor of his car for protection, authorities said.

Officer Christopher Bores stopped the 2014 white Acura just before 4 a.m. after 23-year-old Jefferson Vidal-Marte blew a Rosse Avenue stop sign on New Bridge Road, made a wide turn and failed to maintain a lane while headed west on New Bridge just before 4 a.m., Detective Sgt. Kevin Van Saders told Daily Voice.

Bores stopped the car just into River Edge and spotted the black handgun on the floor of the driver's seat, Van Saders said.

New Milford backup Lt. Brian Clancy responded along with Officers Bryan Mone and Adam Conboy and River Edge police he said.

Vidal-Marte "advised that he was an Uber driver and stated he had the Ekol Alp 2 for protection," the sereant said.

A judge ordered him held on $50,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail on illegal weapons possession charges. Borough police also cited him for failing to stop, failing to maintain a lane and making an improper turn.

http://bergenfield.dailyvoice.com/police-fire/new-milford-police-uber-driver-says-he-packed-illegal-gun-for-protection/689463/

Lyft driver's crash with fire truck could expose shortfalls of insurance coverage

by: Bob Ward Updated: Nov 22, 2016 - 6:44 PM

BOSTON - There may not be enough insurance money to pay for all the damage after a Lyft driver crashed into a Boston fire truck last month.

The driver hit the truck in the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Dartmouth Street, which sent the truck crashing into a row of parked cars -- causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

The driver of the Chevy Equinox was working for the ride-hailing service Lyft at the time. Boston police have cited him for the crash.

But owners of rideshare cars are suddenly realizing they’re in for a big headache as there may not be enough insurance money to pay for all the damage.

In an email to FOX25, Lyft says because its driver didn’t have a passenger or an assignment, its insurance is limited to $25,000 for the entire crash.

The Boston fire department told FOX25 it estimates the damage to its 20-year-old reserve fire engine, which suffered a bent frame, to be at least $50,000.

The owner of a luxury car showed us documents that his car was valued at nearly $14,000 and it was considered totaled.

Those two vehicles alone total $64,000, well above Lyft's $25,000 limit.

With the number of luxury cars damaged or destroyed, the total could easily top $100,000.

Mayor Marty Walsh told FOX25 insurance for ride-hailing services like Lyft has been a concern from the beginning.

“I know when legislation was passed we were concerned about some of the regulations and the ability to regulate car sharing and we don’t have that ability in the city. And I think one of the check marks we were looking at was insurance,” Walsh said.

The city hasn't made a decision on how it will move forward, it just knows that fire truck is going to be scrapped. 

Several of the owners of damaged cars say they're looking at their own options.

http://www.fox25boston.com/news/lyft-drivers-crash-with-fire-truck-could-expose-shortfalls-of-insurance-coverage/469695460?utm_content=bufferef324&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

“Don’t let Uber and Lyft’s $1 million dollar insurance coverage fool you. This should be a great concern for other drivers on the streets, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Rideshare insurance coverage is NOT what you think. I’m hoping regulators in the future will understand the importance of this.”
— A#1 Cab Dispatch- Naomi Hjelm's thoughts on this article

Dallas woman says Lyft driver threatened, harassed her

POSTED:NOV 16 2016 04:37PM CST

DALLAS, Texas - A young woman says she's never using Lyft again after a driver threatened and harassed her and called her cell phone more than 40 times after she got out of the car.

The woman wants to warn other people who use the ride-hailing service. She says she's used Lyft several times before without a problem. But it didn't take long after she got into a Lyft on November 6 in Uptown Dallas that the ride took a turn for the worst.

 She said she was waiting outside a bar that night when a car pulled up and asked if she was waiting for a Lyft. But as soon as she got into the car, she quickly realized it was the wrong driver. When she spoke up about it, she said the man behind the wheel asked for her phone number instead to arrange payment.

“And as soon as I did, he started becoming extremely inappropriate, making obscene comments,” she recalled.

The woman says she asked the Lyft driver to pull over and let her out, but he refused. Instead, she said he asked her to get into his front seat, which she refused.

“He told me he wasn't going to let me out until I exposed myself to him,” she said. “I immediately just got out of the car, starting running toward the apartment complex. He got out of the Lyft and came around and started coming after me, saying ‘Hey! Get back here!’”

But it didn't end there.

The woman provided screenshots that showed someone calling from the Lyft driver's number and a blocked number more than 40 times. She also showed text messages from that same number that threatened to sue her and find out where she lives.

“I was terrified,” she admitted. “I was hoping he wasn't going to keep me in the car, that I was actually going to be able to get out.”

http://www.fox4news.com/news/217964340-story

Fake Uber driver in Maserati arrested for sex assault

POSTED 6:33 AM, NOVEMBER 16, 2016, BY MIKE WILLEUPDATED AT 09:04AM, NOVEMBER 16, 2016

SAN DIEGO - A man who allegedly posed as an Uber driver was arrested after a couple he picked up in University City reported a sex assault during their ride late Tuesday night.

According to San Diego Police Sargent Bannan, the driver asked the couple at the Westfield UTC mall if they ordered an Uber and the pair subsequently got into his vehicle for a ride.

While in the passenger seat of the man's black 4-door Maserati, the driver reached over and grabbed the male passenger's genitalia.  The victim slapped the driver's hand and had the vehicle pull over.  The distraught couple got out to call police.

San Diego Police caught up to the Maserati driver in the 9400 block of Gold Coast Drive.  The driver refused field sobriety tests on scene and was later arrested on sex assault charges.

Police did determine that the driver was not associated with the ride share company Uber.

http://fox5sandiego.com/2016/11/16/man-posing-as-uber-arrested-for-sex-assault/

CPD: Man posing as ride-hailing driver sexually assaulted woman

This is the problem with weak regulations for Rideshares. These fake taxis can be easily mistaken and women are being raped and assaulted frequently. Improper temporary markings would never fly in the taxi industry.
— Jaime Hjelm (Fleet owner with A#1 Cab Dispatch Inc.)

 

CHICAGO NEWS 11/06/2016, 06:28pm

@danielbrown2011 | email

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A man posing as a ride-hailing driver sexually assaulted a female passenger early Sunday in the North Side Lake View neighborhood.

The 21-year-old woman ordered a ride about 2 a.m. in the near 3400 North Halsted and was picked up by a man posing as a driver, according to a community alert from Chicago Police.

After she was dropped off, the man lured her back into his car by telling her she forgot something, police said. The man then drove off and later sexually assaulted her in the backseat of the vehicle.

The suspect was described as a 40 to 45-year-old man, weighing 300 pounds, with a tan complexion, round face, white stubbly beard, bushy black eyebrows, and short black hair, police said. He wore a back windbreaker and spoke with a heavy accent.

He drove an older beige and tan or white four-door vehicle, possibly a Toyota Camry or Corolla, police said.

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/cpd-man-posing-as-ride-hailing-driver-sexually-assaulted-woman/

Uber driver who called woman a black c*** and punched her in the face walks free

  • HATTY COLLIER 
  • 10/18/2016

    An Uber driver who punched a woman in the face and called her a black c*** during a row over drop-offs walked free from court today.

    Taleka White, 27, was dragged out of a minicab and hit twice across the face after her driver, Shahab Akbar, 33, flew into a rage in Addiscombe, south London. 

    Her face smashed into the ground after she was sent flying by the second blow, Croydon magistrates' court heard. 

    Akbar, who had been an Uber driver for just under two years on the night of the incident on November 29 last year, was handed a 16 week suspended prison sentence and a community order at a hearing today. 

    Non-emergency paramedic Ms White, who has a four-year-old son, was left terrified and injured after the attack, with a lump on her head, bruising to her face and a bloodied wrist and knuckles.

    In a victim impact statement read to the court, Ms White said: "This has been a nightmare part of my life and has left me broken in a way and I never thought that was possible.”

    Prosecutor Angela Mahadeo told the court the two women had taken a lift using the Uber minicab app after a night out in Croydon town centre on Saturday November 29.

    “She recalls seeing the minicab speeding away. Her mother opened the door and saw her outside bleeding.” 

    Akbar, who is married to a teacher, had his private hire vehicle licence revoked after the incident and no longer drives for Uber.

    He maintains that he is innocent. 

    Mitigating, Ernest Aduwa told the court it was an “isolated incident” and that Akbar, of Lampits, Hertfordshire, was of a man of good character with no previous convictions.

    “Whilst he doesn’t accept that he committed the offence. He does accept that the behaviour alleged is unacceptable,” Mr Aduwa said.

    “He would like me to tell the court that this whole experience has been embarrassing for him and has been quite traumatic and left him feeling ashamed.” 

 Spokesman for Uber said: “We were appalled by this horrific incident. Uber does not tolerate violence or discrimination of any kind.

"We assisted the police with their investigation and immediately stopped this licensed driver from being able to use our app."

Sentencing District Judge Roscoe said: “The court found you guilty of pulling her out of the car, punching her twice in the face and calling her a black c***. 

“There is no excuse for that whatsoever. You have shown limited remorse.”

He added: “Your conduct on this night will have a lasting effect on Ms White. 

“The injuries may heal but she has been left with an apprehension and a worry and fear that things might happen if she takes a minicab again, which will live with her for much longer.”

Akbar was sentenced to a 16 week prison sentence suspended for two years and a 200 hour community order.

He was ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the victim, an £150 victim surcharge and £600 in costs.  

  • http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/uber-driver-who-called-woman-a-black-c-and-punched-her-in-the-face-walks-free-a3372241.html