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Fake apps and GPS spoofing used by fraudulent Grab drivers to cheat passengers and fellow drivers

The ride-sharing platform moves to stem business losses in its response to fraudsters.

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Back in the heyday of old-school taxis, dishonest drivers cheated their customers through faulty meter wirings. Nowadays, Grab’s ride-sharing platform is facing a new wave of sophisticated fraudsters.

Grab conducted a media briefing last Friday (May 17) to spread awareness regarding new ways in which fraudulent drivers cheat the system and customers. The briefing came in light of the recent case of payment fraud on GrabHitch, where thirteen drivers allegedly cheated Grab of an estimated S$41,000.

According to Grab, fraudulent drivers use the following unsavory methods to get ahead of the system:

  • Drivers use spoof global position system (GPS) tools to pretend they are in a particular location in order to be assigned with more rides.
  • Drivers sign up for multiple accounts using several phones in order to artificially reach goals and therefore receive performance incentives.
  • Drivers use fake Grab apps obtained outside verified Apple and Google Play stores to make unlimited cancellations of unwanted rides without getting penalized.

ReadFree cancellation within 5 minutes for Grab car users

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The spoof GPS allowed drivers to receive bookings for passengers even though their locations were far away at the time the booking request was made. Passengers then have to wait for extended periods while honest drivers within close proximity do not get bookings.

Grab has since banned these fraudulent drivers from the system.

Amidst the cases, Grab has begun adding security measures to prevent fraudulent activity. Drivers are now required to regularly submit a “selfie-verification” to prevent the use and spread of multiple accounts.

Grab has also hired more staff for its anti-fraud division team which includes data scientists, risk and operations analysts, and product managers.

ReadGrab to give drivers free prolonged medical leave insurance for injuries or illnesses on top of existing healthcare benefits

Both drivers and customers must build their awareness of these fraudulent cases, and report any incidents to Grab.

Grab’s head of trust, identity, safety and information security Foo Wui Ngiap said that “We also want to educate our users that we are doing a lot for them and they should feel a little safer on our platforms. In the past, we’ve never talked about it, and what people don’t know, they don’t see.”/TISG

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