San Francisco man gets refund for Uber rides he wasn't taking

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7 On Your Side's Michael Finney helped a man who was being charged for Uber rides he wasn't taking. (KGO-TV)

One San Francisco man was charged for an Uber ride in London and it wasn't a mistake, it was a scam.

Millions of people have come to rely on ride services like Uber to get around. However, a San Francisco man was stunned when his driver was on his way to pick him up -- five thousand miles away.

This serves as a warning to anybody using Internet-based services. The man said his Uber app kept sending driver, but not anywhere near where he was standing.

Benjamin Parks recalls getting pings on his iPhone Christmas night. An Uber driver was on his way to pick him up. "I didn't understand why this was happening because I wasn't requesting any rides," he said.

Not only that, Parks was in Livermore and the Uber driver was picking him up in London, England. "This strange thing is happening. I'm not in London, I'm in Livermore, California," he said.

His Uber app also said Parks had canceled several rides that night. He emailed Uber right away to see what was going on. "It merely suggested that I change my password," Parks said.

He did, but the app said Parks kept canceling rides in London until a driver finally picked him up. "This driver picked up this fictitious me in London up at 8:30 London time," Parks said.

His Uber app shows how a driver took somebody on a three-hour joyride through the streets of London on Christmas night all on Parks' dime or rather, his British pound. "It was 85 British pounds, which is more than $100," he said.

Parks contacted Uber again. "I'm not in London, I didn't take this trip please do something to fix this and I didn't get much help from them," Parks said.

Parks was upset with Uber, so he deleted his account and contacted 7 On Your Side.

Uber told ABC7 News somebody hijacked Parks' account.

Uber believes hackers stole a username and password Parks used at a different company. The same credentials opened his Uber account, which means Parks must have used the same log-in for multiple sites.

Parks said that's possible.

Uber refunded Parks his money and is now increasing security for user accounts.

Parks is still curious about who took that three hour joyride on Christmas night. "Well Merry Christmas for somebody," he said.

Uber said the company will always refund you for an unauthorized ride. If your username and password are stolen from one place, thieves will likely try using them in another place, so they'll take your Netflix, they'll try it out at your bank and that's why you need different logins for each account.

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