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Fake drivers and passengers are boosting Uber’s growth in China

Fake drivers and passengers are boosting Uber s growth in China Quartz


A piece from The Paper, a new state-run Chinese language news site that reports that some Uber drivers find accomplices in WeChat chatrooms that help them book bogus rides.

Accomplices can sit in their apartments, disable location settings, and specify a pickup not far from the actual location of driver’s vehicle, the report said. The driver then accepts the hail, and goes on a trip without a passenger. After the accomplice approves payment, the driver will – hopefully – pay back the fee and share a cut of the bonus. It’s not the most clever get-rich scheme on the planet. But for drivers, it’s better than waiting for a hail in a parking lot.

Other Chinese drivers appear to be circumventing Uber’s system for signing up new drivers by signing up for accounts with fake credentials, in order to grab first-time driver bonuses over and over again.

Typically, Uber recruits drivers by checking one’s ID and driver’s license, and outsourcing background checks and vehicle inspections to third parties. But a black market has emerged on Taobao, China’s leading e-commerce site, that lets users buy their way in.

There are a handful of offers on Taobao for access to Uber’s driver side app for as little as seven yuan, equivalent to $1. Instructions for access varies. But generally speaking, after handing over payment to the vendor, aspiring chauffeurs get access to a unique username, password, and Alipay account that they can use to sign up as a driver.

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Wow, these are problems I never ever considered Uber ever having. 

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