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Uber Drivers In Lagos Are Using a Fake GPS App To Inflate Rider Fares (qz.com) 86

According to Quartz, some Uber drivers in Lagos have been using a fake GPS itinerary app called Lockito to illicitly bump up fares for local drivers. The app was initially created for developers to "test geofencing-based apps," but has been used by Uber drivers to inflate the cost of their trips. From the report: In some cases, inflated trips can cost riders more than double the rate they should be paying. "It's more like a parasite," says Mohammed, a driver for both Uber and Taxify in Lagos. "It sets the false GPS movement while allowing the phone also to keep track of its actual movement. The Uber app can't tell the difference between both so it just calculates both." When a driver uses Lockito for an Uber trip he or she can have the fake GPS running (and calculating a fake fare) from the pickup point to the drop off location, before the passenger has even got into the car. When the real trip starts, the real GPS starts running and calculating the actual fare. But at the end of the journey the fares from both trips (real and fake) are tallied up as one fare which the unsuspecting rider pays. Some drivers use Lockito to inflate fares by adding 1000 naira to 2000 naira extra (roughly $3 to $6) but some drivers are believed to inflate fares to exorbitant levels.

Uber Drivers In Lagos Are Using a Fake GPS App To Inflate Rider Fares

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    "[Lockito] sets the false GPS movement. have the [Lockito] fake GPS running (and calculating a fake fare) from the pickup point to the drop off location, before the passenger has even got into the car."

    Why is "movement" involved in calculating a fare from a pickup point to a dropoff location? Surely this is done using a map. "Movement" makes it sound like fare calculation works by driving a physical dry run of the planned journey, over real roads but without a passenger, which is ridiculous.

    What does GPS have to do with maps? I understand driver slang, "I got a GPS for my car," means I got a Tom-tom or some other computer full of maps that incidentally has a GPS receiver to help center the map, but the

    • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @09:24PM (#55544805) Homepage Journal
      Exactly. Who writes these summaries? It makes no sense. There are two routes and the they get summed and the rider pays for both? I guess they are using a fake GPS app to fool the Uber app, but who the hell knows.
    • Why is "movement" involved in calculating a fare from a pickup point to a dropoff location? Surely this is done using a map. "Movement" makes it sound like fare calculation works by driving a physical dry run of the planned journey, over real roads but without a passenger, which is ridiculous.

      “It sets the false GPS movement while allowing the phone also to keep track of its actual movement. The Uber app can’t tell the difference between both so it just calculates both.”

      The movement calculation is for the route the driver takes from the start location to the destination. There is nothing wrong with calculating thie route because often times one may use a different route from the original route calculated by the GPS.

      However, the part where the app accepts both routes (from Lockito and the other source) could be from their greed. This situation demonstrates that the multi-routing for the same start-end location is a problem that they have not solved. However, they take an ea

  • In most countries like Lagos normal Taxi rate depends if you are local, know language, foreigner, or from USA. I recall a a case where Taxi driver took me for a ride in my home town (in US). Going from an airport, he assumed I was a tourist, so he got of the highway drove a mile, made 4 right turns to get back on the same highway. At least Uber can adjust app and control drives better.
    • In most countries like Lagos

      Lagos is not a country. It's a city (and a state) in Nigeria.

    • In most countries like Lagos normal Taxi rate depends if you are local, know language, foreigner, or from USA. I recall a a case where Taxi driver took me for a ride in my home town (in US). Going from an airport, he assumed I was a tourist, so he got of the highway drove a mile, made 4 right turns to get back on the same highway. At least Uber can adjust app and control drives better.

      Exactly. I had something similar happen to me as a tourist; unfortunately for cab driver I knew the normal route and asked at the end of the trip I asked him why he took the long way to the airport instead of the normal route. He then simply charged me the normal lower fare rather than have me call a cop to settle a fare dispute. It's a pretty common scam run by cab drivers there, I would guess Uber has cut into their business which serves the scammers right.

  • I thought you had to be.a corrupt taxi driver to do something like this. Hm, I guess stuff like this happens in 'the free market' after all. Go figure.
    • These ARE taxi drivers either moonlighting or intentionally peeing in the pool. Rate 'em 1, get 'em fired. At least you can do that with Uber. Can't do that with Taxis.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      We are talking Nigeria here. I think there might be some corrupt taxi drivers.
  • Easy to detect... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @08:49PM (#55544651)

    Just make sure the rider and the driver's GPS show the same route. If the routes differ, somebody (one or both) is scamming the system. Keep tracking enough fares, and it will become apparent who's scamming and who you can trust. Couple that with a bit of post processing the reported route being charged verses the total time and known traffic conditions, it's going to be really clear what's going on and then Uber can correct the charges.

    Eventually, armed with a zero tolerance policy that prescribes an ever increasing level of punishment for those who attempt to scam and reimbursement for ill gotten gains, you will weed out the bad apples. You won't get away with doing this very long before Uber gives you the boot and the problem corrects itself.

    • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @09:05PM (#55544733)

      You assume that Uber cares

      • by xvan ( 2935999 )
        Uber is a credit card service. Denounce fraud and you'll get your money back or go to a dispute. Uber gets charged for each refund so it's bad business for them.
        • by lucm ( 889690 )

          Uber loses $0.20 cents for every $1 charged to customers. They don't qualify as a business, it's a wealth redistribution scheme taking billions from clueless VC and sending them to obnoxious Lebanese who like Eurodance and stalk cute female customers.

          • Uber loses $0.20 cents for every $1 charged to customers.

            But they're making it up on volume.

            • by lucm ( 889690 )

              Uber loses $0.20 cents for every $1 charged to customers.

              But they're making it up on volume.

              This should work. After all, something similar was done a few years ago, it was called "CDO" and it has been a huge success, for a while.

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          Uber is a credit card service. Denounce fraud and you'll get your money back or go to a dispute. Uber gets charged for each refund so it's bad business for them.

          Under what Financial Services industry code of conduct do Uber operate? what credit products do they provide? What credit network do they operate (important to know what stores I can use their product in)?

          Or maybe a better question is, what were you on when you wrote that?

          Uber are not a credit card service, they are an illegal in most jurisdictions (and definitely immoral) taxi company. Your credit card provider is a credit card service. You perform a charge back through them and not Uber. However the

          • Uber is a credit card service. Denounce fraud and you'll get your money back or go to a dispute. Uber gets charged for each refund so it's bad business for them.

            Under what Financial Services industry code of conduct do Uber operate? what credit products do they provide? What credit network do they operate (important to know what stores I can use their product in)?

            I thought the same thing when I read that. Then I realized it meant that Uber is a service that uses (exclusively) credit cards. So every dispute will be handled according to CC rules, and Uber will eat the cost of reversed charges.

    • The downside is that it would require the passenger's GPS to be actively tracking their position, draining battery. Currently the passenger's GPS isn't involved in tracking the trip at all. When you open the app it shows you the location reported by the driver's device.
      • >GPS to be actively tracking their position, draining battery

        what? it doesnt work like that, GPS is working 24/7 in every phone, thats how apple/google gather delicious metadata on its users.

  • ... that Uber ain't got its shit together.

    Employees, employers, and customers have always taken advantage of any weaknesses on the other's part.

    This is not a major problem because Uber will move to fix this one problem and fix another when someone does their QA for them.

    • Yeah, because taxi drivers never cheat on fares.
      • Employees, employers, and customers have always taken advantage of any weaknesses on the other's part.

      • That's very variable. In most places with reasonable levels or regulation, taxi meters are independently regulated subject to random inspection. If the meter isn't showing the correct value, the driver or taxi company can be fined or lose their license. In London, there are 'mystery shoppers' who are paid to take trips in black cabs and can take away the driver's taxi license on the spot if he doesn't go the best route (including avoiding roads with roadworks).

        A lot of taxi regulation revolves around

        • Uber has apparently failed to learn lessons that the rest of the industry has spent a century learning.

          That's because it's different, see. Uber's like got interwebs and an app and stuff!

        • Uber has apparently failed to learn lessons that the rest of the industry has spent a century learning.

          Which wouldn't even be a problem if the rest of the industry had learned something other than how to keep being shitty, like perhaps how to put up a website and do car-hailing and internet tracking.

          • Its not our problem if you live in a third world country. Where I live the local cab services have had apps and tracking for years.

            • Its not our problem if you live in a third world country. Where I live the local cab services have had apps and tracking for years.

              They are in the minority, and none of them have an app as good as Uber's.

  • can't "big data Uber" figure this out, claw back the payments, fire the drivers and refund the customers?

    oh wait.. they'll lose their cut of the profits too.

    • can't "big data Uber" figure this out

      Definitely.Dishonest drivers in Lagos, in the other hand, apparently aren't bright enough to figure out what Uber can easily figure out.

      • or they are, and they're betting Uber doesn't want to cut any of its revenue.
        the worst thing that will happen is Uber makes some changes to make it harder for them to rip people off.

  • If the app sees the entire trip completed in a few micro seconds, should it not detect the near light speed travel?
  • The same country that has become famous after the "Nigerian scam"? Who would have thought.
  • and they're retaliate as best they can. It'd be nice to live in a world where I'm not constantly either being a mark or feeling like I should be turning others into marks.
  • I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In India, a similar ride hailing app (Ola) generates a 4 digit password for each ride, displayed to the rider. When you get in, you give this password to the driver and only then does the trip officially start. This would solve this problem

  • basically all the old reasons everyone claimed as a need to ditch taxis for something like Uber are now the exact same trustworthy issues faced with Uber.
    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      The only reasons I ever heard for ditching Taxis in favour of things like Uber were: 1) Taxis have absolute fares which are too high 2) Taxis have artificially limited supply making it impossible to get a taxi at busy times 3) the lack of an easy to use app that matches you with the closest taxi at the right time 4) manual payment methods.

      Everyone assumed that the drivers at Uber would be no better in any way than at the Taxis, only that they'd have less regulatory capture. In fact, this has been used by th

  • It's an uncountable noun. No plural. Lago.

  • Got the Nigerian Prince scam spam email, and this one was different. It touted some sort of App development that will scam Uber out of millions of dollars, and wanted someone in USA to front run him.

    Once in a while the Nigerian Scam Prince seems to be telling the truth!

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @07:39AM (#55546345)
    When I use Uber it knows my location and destination and gives me the fare in advance. I get billed that no matter what route the driver takes so distance doesn't seem to be a factor in the final fare price. If fares get changed in Lagos based on the spoofed distance, it would seem to be easy for Uber to find the scammers. Drivers would either be traveling at unrealistic speeds based on the time of travel and distance reported or not be available if the don't close out the trip and take far to long for the trip. Since it adds the two trips it would seem easy for Uber to compare the reported length, duration and fare vs an Uber standard length, duration and fare and detect scammers; refund passengers and withhold payments from drivers.
    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      I can't believe I had to scroll all the way to the bottom to get this comment. Uber is all prepaid, no amount of GPS tomfoolery should affect the fare. There is something missing from this story. Does Uber have a different business model in different countries?

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