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Tips for Uber riders as increasing number of sexual predators po - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Tips for Uber riders as increasing number of sexual predators pose as fake drivers

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Nationwide, ride share company Uber has seen sexual predators posing as fake drivers, luring un-suspected victims into their vehicles.

Thankfully, it’s not a problem here in Hawaii yet, but there are certain alerts riders should know to keep it that way.

"We've seen this across the nation, we've heard from it from police in different regions as well. We've seen the news reports." said Safety Communications for Uber, Tracey Breeden.

Just last week, a 44-year-old man allegedly pretended to be a ride share driver to commit sex crimes against riders in California. He was charged with 27 violent sex crimes involving seven different victims.

Honolulu Police say there's only been one sexual assault case involving an actual Uber driver. Howard Higa, President of TheCAB, said that’s one too many.

"Someone says I'm looking for an Uber, ‘O.K. I'm an Uber driver come on in.’ explained Higa, “The problem that comes up is they won't get payment. So, they're either a sexual predator or they'll just take cash. Either way Uber loses out. The only way they can stop this is to train the consumer, which is a tough job"

“It’s really important, if you get in a vehicle that’s a fake ride share vehicle, then there’s no way for you to know who you’re with. There’s no way for us to know who you’re with, and there’s no way for police to know who you’re with.” Said Breeden.

Uber said that passengers should always check that the vehicle and the driver's photo match what's on their phone, and urge riders not to share their name but ask the driver who they’re there to pick up.

The Honolulu Police Department also suggested sending a photo of the car's license plate to a friend, and using the app to your location with whoever is expecting your arrival.

Ubers said its hiring process requires every driver to go through a screening process including a driving and criminal background check.

A video that surfaced online Sunday night showed a city inspector being harassed by a ride share driver near the airport, which sparked the city to put its foot down on what it will and will not tolerate. It said it’s been conducting random field inspections for a year, where inspectors ask for required documentation for ride share drivers.

In a statement from the Department of Customer Services, Director Sheri Kajiwara said:

“I’m extremely pleased with the professionalism displayed by our inspectors during this encounter at the airport staging area. Our inspectors are deputized with enforcement powers by the Honolulu Police Department and they were there doing their job in the interest of public safety. Most Lyft and Uber drivers we encounter during inspections are courteous and receptive and we find that they treat their customers and our inspectors with respect. The actions of this one individual was uncharacteristic of the majority. We will continue to enforce the law through random field inspections and thank Lyft and Uber drivers for their cooperation.”

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