Scammer using Lyft rideshare app to steal cash

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A scammer is using Lyft's ride share app to steal cash from unknowing victims in the South Loop. (WLS)

A scammer is using Lyft's rideshare app to steal credit card information from unknowing victims in the South Loop.

Police said a driver is scamming his passengers by telling them at their destination that the app is not working, and they need to give him their debit card number and PIN. Police say he then goes to the nearest ATM and withdraws cash. It happened early Tuesday morning here in the 800-block of South Wabash and September 29 in the 2000-block of South Michigan. At least twice passengers of a ride-sharing service were scammed in the South Loop over a three week span, according to police.

A Lyft representative said they received a report from a passenger matching descriptions of the crime. Following an investigation, Lyft permanent disabled the driver's Lyft account.

The rideshare experience is supposed to be entirely cashless. You type into your phone where you'd like to be picked up and dropped off. The cost of the ride is charged to the card you've registered with the app.

"If that were to happen to me I'd be like, let's call Lyft, let's call Uber, call someone, get someone on the line right now to process my account," Andrew Witkowski said.

The problem is, rideshare services like Lyft and Uber do not have a number available on their app to call, just an email address.

"They don't tell you guidelines on certain situations what to do if they do ask for the debit card or not. They don't tell you what to do," Laura Bozovic, a ride sharing user, said.

ABC 7 called Uber and they said they have no record of these scams and Chicago police have not contacted the company. They remind their users to never give out debit card information and to call 911 in dangerous situations.

Steve Bernas with the Better Business Bureau said it's this attention to customer concerns that has earned lLft an A-plus with the agency. But passengers are still advised to be vigilant.

"Consumers are banking on them telling the truth. They're trusting them as their driver. So if you feel something out of the ordinary, just pause a minute and regroup and make the call yourself," Bernas said.

Statement from Lyft:

We take all matters involving safety extremely seriously. We received a report from a passenger about an incident matching this description and, following an investigation, we permanently disabled this driver's Lyft account.

Every Lyft ride is cashless with fares automatically charged to the passenger's payment information on file - there is never an instance where cash should change hands.
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newsuberlyftrobberyChicago - South Loop
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