6 robberies in last 2 months involving fake Uber drivers: HPD

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police say you need to make sure the next Uber driver who picks you up is the real deal.

According to police, there were six robberies in the last two months where the suspect pretended to drive for the ride-sharing service.

On Monday evening, we spoke with Ryan Dingle from Minnesota, who is one of the six victims.

"I was here for work, but I was out for the night. I was in Midtown," he explained by phone.

He called an Uber and waited outside.

"The car that pulled up said they were my ride and they had an Uber sticker on the side of the car, so I didn't, you know, really think much of it," he explained.

Dingle said within just two blocks, the driver and even another man in the passenger seat who was slouched down and wasn't initially visible, demanded he hand over everything he had.

"Like my cell phone, my wallet, all of that," he said.

Thinking of his safety, he didn't hesitate. Luckily, the two men let him get out of the car quickly. Dingle was able to call police from a gas station.

"Unfortunately, people target people when they're at their worst," said Sgt. Johnnie McGee, of Houston police.

The victims we reached out to said they were forced to hand over cell phones and wallets. Some forced to take money out of ATMs and then left stranded. One victim told me the men who took his wallet used his credit cards to charge thousands of dollars on Black Friday.

"Don't drive home unless you know the person driving you home," said Dingle.

HPD and Uber said you need to do the following:

Always check the app and make sure you look at the license plate. Also look for the make and model of car. Always know for a fact it's the driver who is meant to pick you up.

"If a person is just sitting outside of the club and asking if you need a ride, don't go for that person. It's gonna be an illegal cab," said Sgt. McGee.

You can view a full list of tips to safeguard your next ride through Uber's portal here.

Follow Mayra Moreno on Facebook and Twitter.

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