The fake "jitney"
A driver comes up to you at baggage claim and says “You need an Uber?” Seeing a taxi line of 200 people and feeling that 15-degree wind chill, you say sure. He proceeds to charge you $75 for a ride into the city center, when it should only cost $35. You might think this is an obvious sucker move and simple to avoid, but last year Uber estimated this happened 2,300 times EVERY WEEK on trips from LaGuardia, Newark, and JFK alone.
How to avoid it: Nowhere on Earth do ride-share services operate by soliciting rides in baggage claim. Fake airport drivers have been around for years, but now they have a brand name (and sometimes even a nifty window decal) to make them seem more legit. They’re still con artists. Only get in a car from the airport taxi stand, or a ride-share you call to the designated area.
Fake drivers will roam the streets looking for people who look like they’re waiting for a car (standing on street corners, staring at their phones, then back at the street, then back at their phones, then squinting at license plates). They’ll pull up and ask if you’re waiting for a ride, hoping you get in. If you ask why the make and model of the car don’t match up to what’s on your app, they’ll claim “the system messed up.” Then they’ll ask if you can just pay in cash or credit once you get to your destination.
How to avoid it: The app has the make, model, and license plate of your assigned ride. If it doesn’t match, don’t get in. As a double precaution, ask the driver’s name or get them to tell you your name, which they won’t know if they’re an imposter.