[ 2015-05-25 ]
Hackers leave Uber users billed for fake cab rides
The FBI is investigating claims that British users
of Uber, the online taxi booking service, have had
money taken from their accounts fraudulently for
fictitious journeys often made abroad.
Among the victims is Anthea Turner, the former
Blue Peter presenter, who tweeted: “Account has
been hacked — nothing to help me on website.”
Another user said: “I woke up in London to find it
said I had taken a $260 (£170) ride in a limousine
in California. Because of the time lag it had been
ordered in the middle of the night here. I didn’t
receive the notification until I looked at my
phone in the morning.”
According to The Observer, Uber users’ accounts
have been sold on the dark net, a private network
of websites, encrypted and controlled anonymously,
that facilitates criminal activity.
It comes as pressure builds to restrict the growth
of Uber, which connects passengers with drivers
via a mobile app. Licensed taxi drivers are
angered by its unrestricted expansion, which they
say threatens their livelihoods.
Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, is understood
to be pushing for legislation to be included in
the Queen’s Speech that would cap the number of
minicab licences in the capital.
Jo Bertram, the head of Uber’s UK business, said:
“We take any issue of this nature very seriously
and, after investigating, have found no evidence
of a breach at Uber. Attempting to access and use
Uber accounts fraudulently is illegal and we
notify the authorities about such activity. Anyone
who is charged for a trip they didn’t book or take
will get a refund.”
A spokesman for Uber denied that the FBI was
investigating the company and said that fraudsters
had used passwords illegally obtained elsewhere.
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