KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Police are issuing a warning about precautions you should take when using popular rideshare services.
This comes as a Kansas City man faces charges for posing as an Uber driver and sexually assaulting his passenger.
Thankfully the victim in this case survived and helped police piece together enough information to make an arrest. But as more of us venture out this summer and turn to apps for a ride home, there are a few things you should look for to stay safe.
Leaving a Midtown nightclub at 39th & Main on an early May evening, a Kansas City woman requested an Uber. Instead, police say she was hoodwinked by 30-year-old Joel Farris, who was posing as a ride-share driver.
“The biggest thing is we ask people to be responsible for themselves and to be proactive,” said Captain Leslie Foreman with KCPD.
Before you ever climb into what you think is your ride, use the app to confirm every detail.
“Verify everything you can so you can verify they are who they are supposed to be, the car, the license and ask, ‘What do you show my name to be?'” Foreman said.
Unfortunately, the victim in this attack was driven away. When she realized something was wrong, called a friend, told the driver to pull over and ran.
But police said Farris caught up with her, insisted he had a gun and forced himself on the victim.
Using surveillance video from the area, investigators tracked Farris to a nearby station, where footage from earlier in the night, revealed a license plate leading to his arrest, and now felony charges.
During the attack, police say the victim did do some things right.
“You should do everything you can do to be loud, scream, make noise, fight, kick, punch, hit, anything you can do to let others know you need help,” Foreman said.
In the app, Uber does have a way for you to request a code number, which only you and your driver can view as an added protection to verify you’ve got the right ride.
Through Lyft, you can add contacts to share your location with, so others know where you’re going.
And police recommend, if possible, not traveling alone. Instead, have at least one friend in the ride share with you.