PSA: Beware of Fake Ride-Hailing App Drivers–Yes, They Exist

As a Southie, ride-hailing apps are my go-to when traveling especially with all the commuting problems in the Philippines. Most importantly, this form of transportation gives me peace of mind with its safety features, such as driver information transparency and being able to share ride details. Unfortunately, some people are taking advantage of the difficult commuter situation and probably those who are unfamiliar with the app.

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Photo from Canva; for illustration purposes only

In hopes to warn the public, Justin Peña shared her story on Twitter. The actress/influencer experienced an alarming encounter with a suspicious driver at SM North Edsa, who posed as her Grab ride. “MODUS WARNING at SM North: While waiting for my ride, a driver pretends to be a Grab [driver],” she wrote.

Peña broke down the details in her Tweet: “I’m on the phone looking like I’m calling a driver, and he rolls down the window pointing to his phone, briefly showing an app open.” The driver then suggested that he was the one she was looking for and asked vaguely, “Ma’am yung car niyo. Booking po?”

“I said no since my wife was picking me up,” she declined, “but he wouldn’t let [me] up. He kept briefly showing his phone and saying, ”yung booking niyo po’–all the while, looking really pleasant.”

As if confirming her hunch, the man switched his approach to asking where she was headed and saying he’ll just bring her there.

“It was a black, SUV with dark-tinted windows,” Peña described. However, she didn’t go too close to it for her own safety and was unable to see the plate number.

Apparently, this was not the first time it happened. “A friend just told me [that the] same thing happened to her, but her Grab was still [two] mins away,” she continued in another Tweet. “She thought it was an app glitch but had the sense to ask the sus car for booking details.”

“I know how often I autopilot getting into a ride when I’m tired, or asking for yes/no confirmation instead of deets once I open the door (tbh, car plates don’t always match the booking ID),” she recalled. “So I can imagine someone actually falling for this. Stay safe guys!”

Another TV Patrol report matched the description of Peña’s claim. According to the victim, the driver of the black Toyota Fortuner with plate number NGS 5176 tried to scam him and his companions in the same way, at the same mall.

The group, on the other hand, got in the vehicle anyway after the Grab poser canceled his booking on his phone; but declined to pay his asking price, which was higher than the app’s rate. That was when they were asked to take off.

After posting the videos on social media, the victim even received private messages from women and those with their children who also fell victim to the fake Grab driver. Clearly, he has been on it for quite a while now.

Grab Philippines confirmed that the vehicle is NOT a registered Grab driver-partner on the newscast. Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Teofilo Guadiz asked the “unscrupulous individuals” to stop these scams as it affects the commuting public and the business of legitimate ride-hailing apps.

A show-cause order by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has also been sent to the owner of the vehicle. Whether he/she/they appeared in their hearing last January 31 is yet to be confirmed (as of writing). Although, if they failed to show up or defend the legality of their actions, they are at risk of losing their driver’s license.


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