DENVER -- After a man landed at Denver International Airport on Saturday, he found out his Uber driver was not who he arranged the ride with.
The real Uber driver said this is an alarming trend that is happening at popular pickup spots such as DIA.
Uber driver Richard Rael was waiting in the designated Uber/Lyft lot at DIA at 9:15 p.m. Saturday. Minutes later, he got a ping on his phone from a rider named Arthur.
Rael called Arthur to confirm the pickup door, but when Arthur answered, he said he was already in another Uber.
That driver tried to grab Arthur’s cellphone. Rael said he knew something wasn’t right based on the audio of the phone conversation.
Rael: “Hello Arthur, this is Richard your Uber driver. How are you today?”
Arthur: “Uh I’m doing well, um I just hopped into a different Uber, I’m sorry about that.”
Rael: “Wait, wait Arthur”
Fake Uber driver: “Hello? Hello? What are you doing?”
Rael: “Let me talk to Arthur.”
Fake Uber driver: “Can you please cancel ride.”
Fake Uber driver: “We just left the terminal, thank you so much.”
The man hung up the phone. Panicked, Rael called Arthur back.
Rael: “He’s not a real Uber driver. He’s a fake Uber driver.”
Arthur: “So what should I do? I’m halfway down the road.”
Rael: “Call the police. Have him pull over and get out of the car. I will come get you.”
Rael stayed on the line until Arthur was dropped off near Pena Boulevard.
“It could have gone way south,” Rael said.
Rael said Arthur was shaken up but OK when he picked him up on the side of the road. He said passengers need to be extra cautious before getting into any Lyft or Uber.
“He didn’t ask for the driver's name. Probably didn’t look at the app. He’s probably in a rush -- I need to get to my hotel. I’m tired I want to get there, Uber is right there,” Rael said.
Rael said the way the Uber system is set up, this was no accident.
He said it’s impossible for a registered driver to pick up the wrong passenger. That driver would not have been paid for the ride, as Rael was still the assigned driver on the app.
“Just like any motor carrier, you steal my person. I have insurance on that person through Uber. That fake Uber driver doesn’t have insurance, so if you get in an accident, you’re screwed," Rael said.
Rael said Arthur was grateful for his quick thinking in what could have been a far more dangerous ending.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a good Samaritan. I’m just a safe driver that wants to get a rider home," Rael said.
With the weather on Saturday night, the license plate on the fake Uber vehicle was partially covered with snow.
The Denver Police Department is investigating.AlertMe