Journalists tell Uber passengers to ask the driver to say their name. The problem is this will leave you open for ride hijacking and it's more common than you think. As an Uber driver, it's happened to me.
One night I did a pick up at Barnes and Noble. I arrived and made two mistakes that cost me fifteen dollars. A college-age girl opened my door and I committed mistake number one by saying one word - "Sarah?". She said yes, then I accepted the ride on the app which then displayed the destination of a SUNY Poly Dorm. Mistake number two next, "Going to SUNY Dorms, right?" - she replied yes.
Twenty minutes later we arrive on campus and the app is directing me to Adirondack Residence Hall, but Sarah asked to be dropped off at Oriskany Residence Hall, so that's what I did thinking she had a change of plans or was visiting a friend.
On to the next ride, but a few minutes later Uber contacted me and tells me that my ride was hijacked. Turns out that Sarah was not Sarah. A whole bunch of SUNY college kids were at Barnes and Noble and were all leaving within a few minutes of each other. Fake Sarah just waiting outside for any Uber and she would say yes to any name I asked her. She got her free ride, the real Sarah got a refund and I was lost my $15 as well as time and fuel for that trip.
Uber tells drivers to ask the passenger for their name also what their designation is, which makes perfect sense.
The passenger can confirm they have the correct Uber by looking at our plate number, photo, make and color of car and by seeing up arrive exactly at the time they see on the real-time map.
The driver should confirm the correct passenger by asking her name and designation.
Most newspaper articles have been telling people to make the driver say the passenger's name. This removes our one method of authentication, it's bad advice and takes away our one method of passenger authentication.
Most likely, in the near future passengers will be provided a PIN number they will have to give the driver, who will type that in the driver app for verification.