The trick, apparently common in a number of Chinese cities, is meant to frighten people out of money – and seems to be working.
At least that appears to be what is happening in China, where scammers are adding horrifying drivers that nobody wants to ride with. The scam works because people see the ghostly pictures appear in their app, scaring them and leading them to cancel their ride – and forcing them to pay a cancellation fee that is then passed on to the scammers.
According to Chinese news site Sixth Tone, people who are victims of the scam would order their Uber as normal. But the pictures instead show somebody often with red eyes and a pale face, looking like a zombie or a ghost, and so people don’t want to drive with them.
The scam appears to be seizing on the worry about ride sharing apps like Uber. Many people have worried that the fact that drivers can join the company relatively unchecked, and that they are thus essentially driving with a stranger.
Uber has told Chinese media that it has a “zero-tolerance attitude to scamming behaviour”, and that refunds would be given to anyone targeted by the ghosts. It will also be banning any fraudulent accounts and continue to investigate to find more, it said.