How to prevent being scammed out of your Instant Pay account

There seems to be a pretty big uptick in a scam affecting us drivers. It may not be new but it is occurring a lot more frequently.

Someone contacts you pretending to be Uber or Lyft. They usually start off by saying something that catches you off guard. It might start with a compliment, like, “You are one of the top 100 drivers in your area and you just earned a $500.00 bonus.” Next they ask for your email, password, and details around your security question so they can verify your identity. They will then claim that the bonus will appear in your account in the next few days.

Another example is the scammer claims that your account may have had a security breach and they need to verify your identity. They then ask for your email and password attached to your Uber/Lyft account and again details surrounding your security question.

Both of these attempts are geared at gaining access to your account in order to drain away your hard earned money. Once they have access they will change your bank details, your password, and lock you out. The Rideshare Guy has a great video on these scams and more.

We’ve got to be on our toes. Uber or Lyft will almost never call you. Do not under any circumstance give out the email attached to your rideshare account or any details concerning your security question.

Think about updating your password to your account frequently. I know it can be difficult to constantly come up with new passwords. I like to use a password manager like Lastpass and it’s free for the basic version. You have just one login and one password to remember with them.  It will remember all subsequent logins and passwords for you and autofill them is the appropriate field. I find it extremely helpful.

Wednesday: Keeping track of those miles for tax purposes

Are you required to notify your passengers they are being recorded?

For rideshare drivers, dash-cams play an important role in safety. Having one in your car can protect you from false liability claims when in an accident. They can also protect you from a false claim made by a rider to their rideshare platform about you.

With so much at risk, it’s easy to understand why more and more drivers are installing them in their cars. But what about your legal responsibilities when it comes to the rider’s right to privacy? According to Wiley.com’s online library, 16 states require two-party notification whenever recording. Those states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington. This means drivers need to let riders know that they are being recorded in their cars. Amazon has a lot of signage options you can use to let your riders know.

If you are currently in the market for a dash-cam, check out the July 20th blog post where we reviewed what to look for when making this purchase.

Monday: What do you look for when buying a dash camera for rideshare?

Prop 22 – Here’s what Uber must now provide drivers in California

In November, California voters passed Prop 22 allowing drivers to remain independent contracts with certain guarantees. Other states are reviewing this legislation with thoughts of bringing it to their state. So what exactly does Prop 22 offer gig drivers?

According to Uber drivers in California will now be receiving the following:

Guaranteed minimum earnings:

  • 20% more than the pickup city’s minimum wage
  • $0.30 per mile for expenses.* 
  • No limit to how much you can make, but if you earn less than the guaranteed minimum over 2 weeks, they’ll pay you the difference automatically.**

Injury Protection:

  • If you get into a covered accident, Uber’s insurance will help protect you and your family from financial hardship. Benefits include medical expense coverage, disability payments, survivor benefits.

Healthcare stipend:

  • With a qualifying plan and an average of at least 15 active hours per week each calendar quarter, you’ll receive a stipend to help pay for your healthcare.
  • For both rides and deliveries, drivers will be considered active from the moment you accept a trip until the moment you complete it.

Other Changes:

  • Deactivation appeals
  • Safety course for new drivers
  • Required breaks
    • Required to go offline for at least 6 consecutive hours if you drive and/or deliver by car for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period.

It will be interesting to see which states will decide to follow the Golden State.

Friday: Car maintenance hacks

Tips to avoid being a carjacked victim

We have all seen and heard about rideshare drivers being victims of a carjacking. This is one of the most serious hazards that we face, Even though we have no control over the actions of others, there are some things we can do to lower our chances of this happening to us!

The Information Insurance Institute has compiled a list of seven things we can all do right now to avoid being a target:

  1. Always have your mobile phone handy—and charged.
  2. Avoid being alone in your vehicle in certain areas, such as high crime neighborhoods, isolated roads, and intersections, and desolate areas of parking lots. 
  3. Be aware of your surroundings. Pay special attention to people who seem to be lurking or cars that suspiciously follow you into driveways. Call 911 and use your key fob or other car alarm if you feel a threat.
  4. Be wary of how carjackers lure victims. These include bumping your car, pretending to be stranded motorists, or flashing their lights as if there were something wrong with your car. In each of these scenarios, you might be tempted to pull over—only to have your car taken. Stay inside with the windows shut and the door locked and, if you feel a threat, drive to the nearest police or fire station. 
  5. Practice safe parking. Stick to well-lit areas. If you have any doubts about where you parked after the fact, find a security guard to accompany you to your vehicle.
  6. Don’t sit in your car with the door unlocked or the windows rolled down. 
  7. Don’t stop at isolated ATMs, which might put you and your bank accounts as well as your car in danger. 

Taking these simple actions can go a long way in ensuring your safety and the safety of your passengers.

Wednesday, Dec 30th: What is Uber offering drivers in California from the passage of Prop 22

Would you drive for a new rideshare company if you were an employee?

More and more states are looking to place further regulations on the rideshare industry. There is a big push by governments to force companies like Uber and Lyft to make drivers their employees.  

But what if there was a rideshare company that started all of their drivers as employees? How many current Uber and Lyft drivers would give up their contractor status and become an employee? 

Yesterday a company called Alto launched in Los Angeles according to LA Magazine. They will  providing the vehicles, training, and W2 – status for all of their drivers. The article goes on to say, “The brand hopes its focus on safety will help people justify the additional cost—particularly during a pandemic. All the company’s cars are equipped with plexiglass barriers and HEPA air filters; between rides, the vehicles are sprayed with a “hospital-grade” sanitizing mist that’s reported to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses.,”

It will be interesting to see if this business model can expand beyond just the LA Area?

Friday: Is decorating your car for the holidays a good idea?

Get your cleaning and PPE products NOW from Uber or Lyft

On Dec 31st, unemployment insurance will run out for gig workers which includes rideshare and app-based food delivery drivers. There is a small chance Congress may pass an extension or new legislation. However, if Congress fails to act, those drivers who have not been driving will be forced to return to feed their families.

With the rate of infections increasing at an alarming rate across the country, all drivers will be looking for sources of PPE(personal protection equipment). Store shelves in many areas are already empty of things like Clorox wipes.  

Both Uber and Lyft offer PPE to their drivers. The distribution of these products varies by company and from city to city. 

Click here for instructions on how to claim yours from Uber. 

According to CNN Lyft is providing drivers free PPE at its Lyft stores. Lyft also has a program to help its drivers purchase and install plexiglass in their cars. 

If you already have a supply but need to re-up or haven’t received or purchased your PPE, the time to act is now! Demand for these items is sure to increase over the next several months.

Monday: Where to pee?

What roadside assistance program are you using?

As a rideshare driver, you never know when you will need to call for roadside assistance. Keys locked in the car, flat tire, stuck in a ditch, or worse an accident, having a company you can rely on can bring you peace of mind. 

Today, there are a wide variety of programs available but how do you choose the one that is right for you? According to Living On The Cheap  “When deciding which program is right for you and your family, consider who needs to be covered and what vehicles they drive, and whether you need to be covered in other vehicles. You also want to compare different companies’ average response times for service calls, whether memberships cover all costs or if you’ll need to seek reimbursement, whether calls cover accidents or just electrical/mechanical failure, and how often and for what distance towing is covered.” 

There are 3 ways to choose your roadside assistance program:

New or certified used car purchases – When you purchase a new or certified used car, they often come with roadside assistance included for free. Edmunds has put together a list of manufacturers that offer this service.

Traditional programs – The most common way to get coverage is to purchase a program like AAA but there are other options available. Good Sam Roadside Assistance, AARP Roadside Assistance with AllState (55yr+), and others. Pricing can vary greatly depending on the types of coverage and number of drivers. It can take some time to sort out all of the options but that homework can pay off with savings.

Credit cards companies, phone companies, and auto insurance carriers – American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Discover all offer their members some form of coverage but it is limited. Both Verizon and AT&T have coverage for a small additional monthly fee. Insurance companies often have their own programs, but again there is an additiinal monthly charge beyond your plan’s premiums.

Whichever route you choose, you can be secure in knowing that a backup plan is in place when you are stranded.

Monday: Your car smells like weed because of your last rider, now what?

Drivers are responsible for checking IDs when delivering alcohol

In some states like California, UberEats drivers are temporarily permitted to deliver alcohol with their food delivery orders. Adding beer, wine or mixed drinks brings added revenue to struggling restaurants and brings increased demand for delivery. If this option is available in your state, you do have to opt-in for this kind of delivery. However, this also means drivers are responsible for checking ids and more!

The Washington Post had an article back in April that went over some of the perils drivers face when accepting these deliveries. One of the most shocking is restaurants including alcoholic drinks in orders even though it was illegal in their state.

In the Golden State, authorities are taking action. California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is conducting sting operations and fining drivers for not checking ids at the door. These fines can range from $250 – $1000, ouch! The best way for drivers to protect themselves is to follow all of the steps listed on the Uber Help page on delivering alcohol.

Lastly, remember that these orders can not sit upfront with you because of open container laws and must be kept in your trunk.

Wednesday: Don’t discount riders who say they will tip in the app!

Some interesting information on UberEats for drivers

We all know that user demand for rideshare is way down. According to QZ.com, demand in the second quarter of 2020 was down 75%. 

With such a sharp decline, many of us have turned to food delivery options like DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, and others. In October, Business of Apps posted an article claiming UberEsts has now passed Uber Rides in revenue. 

For drivers, the move to delivery is easy to understand given the increased demand as well as limiting one’s exposure to Covid-19. But what can we expect to earn and how can I tell which one has the best boosts?

Money – Quora.com claims Uber drivers make more money as UberEats drivers only get a set amount per delivery. Whereas, Uber drivers earn more per mile. So when you are being pinged for a delivery, it is best to only accept those coming from restaurants that are closest to you.

Finding the best boosts – Signing up with a different account for Uber Rides and UberEats can be the secret to increasing your income. If you run separate accounts, you can sign-in to each one and shop each app for the best boosts for different times a day. Shopping the apps is a great way for you to raise your income and use your time more efficiently.

In the gig economy, we all have to work smarter not harder to be successful. 

Friday: Dealing with vomit, are you prepared?

Tips on winter driving

Snow is falling in many parts of the country and in others, the rainy season has begun. In either case, we need to change our driving habits for the safety of ourselves and our riders.  

 

AAA has a number of great tips including for winter driving. Some of those tips include, accelerate and decelerate slowly, increase your following distance, don’t stop going up a hill, and more

AAA also offers tips for driving in wet weather. Some of those tips include, slow down, make room, avoid cruise control, and more.

No matter where you live, it’s important to check your local weather forecast so you know what kind of road conditions you will be dealing with each day.

Monday: Are fewer drivers using the turning signal?