LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Denzel McAlpine accepted a ride request while driving for Uber Friday morning, a ride that cost him nearly $900.
The Southern Nevada local says he drives up to 150 people around the Las Vegas Strip a week. He’s been an Uber driver for nearly seven years to help pay rent and support his small home renovation business.
“I drive locals and tourists. I pretty much drive all around the city,” McAlpine said outside the 8 News Now station Tuesday morning.
Last week, he hit a milestone: 4,000 trips. But, right now, he’s not celebrating.
He said he accepted a ride after midnight on Friday in the Summerlin area. The ride was canceled by the passenger soon after. Then, he got a phone call from someone claiming they were with Uber Support.
McAlpine said the person offered him a $250 bonus for reaching his driving milestone.
“I was kind of surprised by it, but went along with it,” McAlpine said, before detailing how frequently the company provides similar incentives for drivers.
The bonus was contingent on him registering a virtual Uber card to his account that the scammer, posing as support staff, sent to him. For it to work, McAlpine said he was directed to delete the debit card on his account.
When he pressed the “cash out” button, he was out $859.42, what McAlpine said was an entire week’s earnings up to that day.
“To know that I had worked the entire week, hard money, and for it to just be gone in a second, I mean, it was dreading,” McAlpine said with a sigh.
It’s the most recent Uber driver scam story within the past year. News reports of similar situations in Texas, Rhode Island, Georgia and Colorado have been reported since late 2022.
When McAlpine asked Uber for help, he received a message stating, “There was no evidence to suggest your account was compromised.” Other news reports say other scammed drivers received the same message.
Since this 8 News Now report, McAlpine said Uber refunded “every penny” of his loss. However, as he is not the first driver to experience this, he believes the company should take more proactive precautions.
“Drivers like me, I wasn’t aware until after I got scammed,” McAlpine said. “If there was a little bit more awareness, alert, something, to help us see the scam that’s going on, it could be avoided.”
An Uber spokesperson calls this incident an “imposter scam.” They add these scams are “very rare” on the platform, though did not answer how long Uber has been aware of them.
In a statement, the spokesperson writes:
“What happened to this driver is disheartening and appears to be the result of a scam by a third-party bad actor. We are in touch with the driver and have restored the lost funds to his account. We routinely remind drivers of the importance of safeguarding their personal account information, only use accounts that belong to them, and to never disclose passwords and verification codes to anyone. Uber will never reach out to request that information.”