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Rideshare safety after death of student who got into car she thought was Uber

App holds the keys to protecting yourself
Posted at 5:22 PM, Apr 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 10:19:17-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — When Samantha Josephson stepped out of a bar late at night last week in Columbia, S.C., authorities say she got into the back of a black Chevy Impala thinking it was her Uber ride in what proved to be a deadly mistake.

READ MORE: A college student got into a car she thought was her Uber, police say. She ended up dead in a field

Walter Wilson has driven for Uber here in Baltimore for three years now.

“You're supposed to check the tag, check the person's I.D. because it's on your phone,” said Wilson, “It's just unfortunate. Probably she wasn't that coherent at the time in the morning, 2:30 in the morning.”

In a statement released on Tuesday, Uber said, “Since 2017, we've been working with local law enforcement and college campuses across the country to educate the public about how to avoid fake rideshare drivers. Everyone at Uber is devastated to hear about this unspeakable crime, and our hearts are with Samantha Josephson's family and loved ones.”

At Towson University, Police Chief Joe Herring said students are encouraged to use the shuttle service, which has routes on and off campus, but for those who choose to use a ride-hailing service like Uber, “A. Wait for your ride inside. There's no need to stand outside with a phone in your hand, and probably the second most important thing is to match the ride service up to what the app has told you is coming,” said Herring, “Match up the license plate, color, make and model of the vehicle.”

It is advice echoed by an experienced Uber driver like Wilson.

“Always look at the profile. It's in the phone. Look at the car. Everything is listed in there — the person's name, the person's face, the car, the tag, everything,” said Wilson, “All of the information is there, and all you have to do is check it out before you get in.”

Last year, Uber added a 911 integration button in its app that will list your ride information in an emergency call and a Trusted Contacts feature to alert others of your trip to better protect your safety.